The self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) and the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front continue to target each other's positions in Syria. The Nusra Front accuses ISIS of targeting its members, carrying out black propaganda against it and harming the struggle against ISIS. On social media, pro-Nusra and pro-ISIS accounts accused each other of serving the U.S. or being a heretic.
The latest airstrikes that were carried out by the U.S.-led coalition targeted ISIS as well as the Nusra Front. Al-Qaida sympathizers on some media outlets and social media asked the question of why the U.S. is targeting the Nusra Front, which now sustains a decisive resistance against ISIS, while delivering weapons to the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD). The Nusra Front helps the Western-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) in several areas, especially in Aleppo.
Opposition groups have been divided over supporting the airstrikes. While some FSA members said that the airstrikes will push ISIS back, some are opposed to them. The coalition targets some specific militants of the Nusra Front as it did on Sunday in Aleppo. The latest attack angered some opposition forces as they were at a crucial point of attacking Assad to capture Aleppo.
The Nusra Front presents itself as a group affiliated with al-Qaida, however, it comprises Syrian people and aims to topple the Assad regime to establish a new government, governed under strict religious jurisprudence. The organization is ruled by Abu Mohammed Al-Jawlani, about whom there is very limited information.
After ISIS, which was previously affiliated with al-Qaida, saw its operations in Iraq spill into Syria, the Nusra Front denied its legitimacy and wanted the group's fighters to declare their obedience to Al-Jawlani. Yet ISIS rejected this demand and the two groups declared war on each other. ISIS dismantled itself from the globally established al-Qaida organization, which is recognized as a terrorist organization by a large number of states, including the U.S., the EU and Turkey. After the Nusra Front claimed that it was the only al-Qaida branch in Syria, ISIS denounced the Nusra Front fighters as apostates. Both of the groups are placed on Turkey's list of terror organizations.