A major terrorist group in Syria, with links to the so-called moderate militants in the Arab country, has officially joined the ranks of the notorious Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, which is linked to al-Qaeda.
Jabhat Fateh al-Sham's leader Abu Mohammed al-Golani claimed on Sunday that Jund al-Aqsa had joined the ranks of the group in a bid to stop infighting in northern Syria over the past days which has seen a bloody battle between Jund al-Aqsa and the Ahrar al-Sham group.
The two terror groups of Jund and Ahrar began fighting each other after the latter accused Jund militants of ambushing its leaders.
Golani and commander of Jund al-Aqsa, Abu Diab al-Sarmini, signed a handwritten declaration on Sunday, showing that the merger officially took place and Jund militants could now enjoy the protection of Syria’s main al-Qaeda affiliate. However, the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a monitoring group based in Britain which is affiliated to Syria's foreign-based opposition, said intense infighting continued as before in the northern province of Idlib.
Several key leaders of Ahrar al-Sham have been killed over the past days as a result of the infighting. Syrian sources said the infighting also stalled an offensive by Jund al-Aqsa against government forces in central part of Hama province, an area which is under the control of Syrian forces.
For long, Western governments, including the United States, have designated a series of militant groups in Syria as moderate, separating them from Jabhat Fateh al-Sham and Daesh, the main Takfiri group which mostly operates in eastern Syria and areas in neighboring Iraq.
Jabhat Fateh al-Sham is the second major alliance of terrorist groups in Syria after Daesh. The group formerly operated under the title of Nusra Front and is still regarded as the affiliate of al-Qaeda in Syria. Intelligence sources say both Jabhat Fateh al-Sham and Jund al-Aqsa enjoy support from Saudi Arabia, a major opponent of the Syrian government.