The Al Nusrah Front, al Qaeda’s official branch in Syria, has released its first series of propaganda photos from the newly-launched offensive in Aleppo. The group posted more than 20 images online today, including several that feature the explosion caused by a suicide bomber known as Abu Osama al Jazrawi in the neighborhood of Jamiyat al Zahra. The neighborhood is home to some of the regime’s most important military assets in the area.
The photos were disseminated via one of Al Nusrah’s official Twitter accounts, as well as on a feed devoted to the Ansar al Sharia coalition. The images, which can be seen below, are watermarked with the logos for both Al Nusrah and Ansar al Sharia. In addition, Al Nusrah has released a short video showing scenes from the fighting.
On July 2, the Al Nusrah Front and several other groups announced that they had established Ansar al Sharia to battle Bashar al Assad’s forces in the city. [See LWJ report, Al Nusrah Front, allies form new coalition for battle in Aleppo.]
Another coalition of insurgents named Fatah Halab (or “Conquest of Aleppo”) is also participating in the fight against Assad. The Al Nusrah Front does not belong to Fatah Halab, but Ahrar al Sham, which is linked to al Qaeda and allied with Al Nusrah, is a member. Ahrar al Sham is, in fact, part of both rebel groupings. More than two dozen other anti-Assad organizations belong to Fatah Halab as well.
It is not clear how much progress the two alliances have made in the early rounds of the fighting.
Al Nusrah claims that Abu Osama’s “martyrdom operation” paved the way for its fighters to storm Assad’s positions in Jamiyat al Zahra. In one tweet, Al Nusrah says the “mujahideen” are now in control of “several buildings.”
Other propaganda photos released by Al Nusrah show the jihadists entering the area. The jihadists are using a tank, homemade rockets, and other assorted weapons to target Assad’s forces inside the neighborhood.