Al-Qaeda turns to Syria to challenge ISIS
A number of Al-Qaeda veterans have secretly been sent to Syria, where their goal is to do the groundwork for the establishment of an emirate, US and European intelligence officials have told the New York Times. Such a mission would imply competing with Islamic State.
Al-Qaeda is reportedly planning to set up an alternate headquarters in Syria, using its local affiliate, Al-Nusra Front.
The step could mean that Syria gains increasing importance for Al-Qaeda, as well as the potential for violent escalation between the two terrorist groups, officials told NYT.
Another, possibly even more alarming, consequence could be Al-Qaeda’s establishment of an emirate in Syria. Earlier this month, the group’s leader in Pakistan, Ayman al-Zawahiri, released his first audio statement in months, which could be taken to mean his blessing to set up the emirate, Western officials say.
This new entity may pose an elevated terror threat to the world as the terror group will gain immediate access to fighters from Iraq, Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon.
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