al-Nusra defeats Maarouf in NW Syria

Yesterday, and after five days of heavy clashes between al-Nusra Front (NF) and Syrian Revolutionaries Front (SRF), NF defeated SRF forces decisively. al-Nusra front has controlled all town in Jabal al-Zawieah, amongst them Dier Sunbul, the town of SRF commander Jamal Maarouf.

The last clashes between SRF and al-Nusra erupted after the defection of al-Bara’s Martyrs Brigade with its arms and weapons. The brigade joined al-Nusra and Maarouf claimed that the defected brigade should leave their weapons with SRF, and tried to seize them by force. Later, SRF shelled al-Bara town with mortars. al-Nusra Front with Jund al-Aqsa attacked SRF forces aiming to shove them out of Idlib province.

In fact, this is not the first clashed between SRF and NF. In mid July 2014, al-Nusra attacked Syria Revolutionaries Front’s militants in Jisr al-Shgor and Darkosh in Idlib. al-Nusra fighters were backed by fighters from Ahrar Al-sham at that time. A truce took place after mediation of islamist Shiekhs.

Other FSA groups and Islamists groups tried to mediate and formed “Mediation Forces”, like The 13th Division and Hazzm Movement. However, SRF was too weak and couldn’t contain the attack of NF. Some fighters of SRF defected during the battle and joined NF.

Today, al-Nusra agreed to a ceasefire under three conditions:

1- Forming a court headed by Saudi preacher Abdullah al-Moheisini. The court will be responsible to judge Maarouf and SRF.

2- The mediations forces should guarantee to bring Jamal Maarouf to the court within 24 hours of its formation.

2- Release the captives from both sides once Maarouf is brought to the court. Those who were engaged in fighting against NF will be handed over to the court.

The ceasefire started 2pm, November 1st, 2014.

In March 2014, an article on Foreign Policy described Jamal Maarouf as the “West’s best fighting chance against Syria’s Islamist armies

Pic source:

Jamal Maarouf

Background Information: 

– Jabal al-Zawieh (Mount Zawiya) consists of 36 towns and villages between Hama and Aleppo.

– The Syria Revolutionaries Front is an alliance formed in December 2013 by different Free Syrian Army brigades as a response to the Islamic Front merger and headed by Jamal Maarouf since then.

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