The State Department confirmed that the al-Qaeda in Iraq front, al-Nusra, is involved in Syria’s civil war.
“We’ve had concerns that al-Nusra is little more than a front for al-Qaeda in Iraq who has moved some of its operations into Syria,” spokesperson Victoria Nuland said Monday.
Nuland’s remarks came after questions regarding a New York Times article that addressed the rise of links between the Syrian rebels and al-Qaeda in Iraq, who have an anti-American past:
The Nusra Front’s ally, Al Qaeda in Iraq, is the Sunni insurgent group that killed numerous American troops in Iraq and sowed widespread sectarian strife with suicide bombings against Shiites and other religious and ideological opponents. The Iraqi group played an active role in founding the Nusra Front and provides it with money, expertise and fighters, said Maj. Faisal al-Issawi, an Iraqi security official who tracks jihadi activities in Iraq’s Anbar Province.
Rebel leaders explain that they are turning to the terrorist linked group as a way to support their cause, citing “exasperation” with U.S. refusal to provide them with arms.