In the Spring of 2014, the Free Syrian Army’s “Division 13” helped Jabhat Al-Nusra (Syrian Al-Qaeda group) seize Ma’arat Al-Nu’man inside of central Idlib; and for nearly 2 years, they lived harmoniously together in this strategic city.
However, this relationship came to an abrupt end this weekend, when Jabhat Al-Nusra and Jund Al-Aqsa (Syrian Al-Qaeda group) launched a powerful assault on Division 13’s headquarters and storage depots to kick the latter out of Ma’arat Al-Nu’man.
Unable to withstand the Nusra onslaught, Division 13 abandoned all posts inside of Ma’arat Al-Nu’man and fled to Turkey, leaving all of their weapons to the extremist rebel factions.
Among the weapons seized by Jabhat Al-Nusra and Jund Al-Aqsa were the U.S. manufactured anti-tank TOW missiles that were specifically given to rebel groups that were not deemed “Jihadist”.
Jabhat Al-Nusra has a history of kicking out rebel groups in the Idlib and Aleppo governorates, including U.S. backed factions like Harakat Hazzm and the Syrian Revolutionaries Front.