The radical Sunni Wahhabist push to establish a Shari law caliphate stretching across Syria and Iraq gained traction on Wednesday as two rival groups joined forces.
News of the merger was reported by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a one-man propaganda operation run by Rami Abdulrahman, an anti-Assad activist based in London.
The al-Nusra Front is said to have pledged allegiance to ISIS, a move suggesting ISIS is now the dominant jihadist group in the region. The meeting reportedly took place in Albu Kamal on the Syria-Iraq border.
In April, 2013 al-Nusra pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda and its leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri. “The sons of al-Nusra Front pledge allegiance to Sheikh Ayman al-Zawahiri," Abu Mohammed al-Jawlani, the mercenary group leader said in an audio recording.
ISIS, al-Nusra and other radical Muslim groups now dominate the fight in Syria. So-called moderate groups are no match for the jihadists.
“The moderates, often underfunded, fragmented and chaotic, appear no match for Islamist units, which include fighters from organizations designated ‘terrorist’ by the United States,” Reuters reported last June.
Al-Nusra Armed by U.S.
In April it was reported the CIA transfers weapons from “moderate” mercenaries in Syria to al-Nusra. The delivery was revealed by Jamal Maarouf of the Syrian Revolutionary Front.
Maarouf said if “the people who support us [U.S., Saudis, Qataris] tell us to send weapons to another group, we send them. They asked us a month ago to send weapons to [al-Nusra in] Yabroud so we sent a lot of weapons there. When they asked us to do this, we do it.”
In April it was reported shipments delivered to Maarouf and others included sophisticated BGM-71 TOW anti-tank weapons. Later that month it was reported the U.S. would supply man-portable air defense systems, or antiaircraft missiles to proxy forces.
Aaron Klein, writing for WND, reported last week that ISIS received training from the U.S. military in Jordan.