Al-Qaeda militants kidnap US-backed Syrian rebel leader

Syrian rebels celebrate victory over regime forces in Idlib. File photo

ARA News

ALEPPO – US-backed Syrian rebels on Sunday accused the al-Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front of storming their headquarters in the northwestern Idlib province and abducting their commander and other fighters. 

The western-backed rebel group of Jaish al-Tahrir (Liberation Army) said in a statement on Sunday that its commander, Mohammad al-Ghabi, was kidnapped from his home in the town of Kafranbel in Idlib province, accusing jihadists of the Nusra Front of being behind the operation.

“Also, militants of Jabhat al-Nusra [al-Nusra Front] abducted more than 40 members of Jaish al-Tahrir, and stole weapons from other bases and checkpoints set up in northwestern Syria,” it said. “We call on Al-Nusra Front to immediately release our commander and all the others who were kidnapped.”

The Liberation Army also urged other Islamist factions operating in northwestern Syria to put pressure on Nusra in order to release its commander and the other kidnapped rebel fighters. 

The group has previously received military support from the United States, including weapons and ammunition, as well as salaries for its fighters. 

The al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front has earlier attacked several US-supported rebel groups in Idlib province, including ‘Division 13’ in the Maarat al-Numan town in March, beside kidnapping a number of US-trained rebel fighters of ‘Division 30’ in the summer of 2015.

Reporting by: Helin Saeed

Source: ARA News

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