Al Nusra Front is now in Southern Mexico and Latin America
Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (Arabic: جبهة فتح الشام, transliteration: Jabhat fatḥ ash-Shām, “Front for the Conquest of the Levant”), formerly known as the al-Nusra Front (Arabic: جبهة النصرة لأهل الشام, transliteration: Jabhat an-Nuṣrah li-ahli ash-Shām, “The Victory Front for the People of the Levant“, often abbreviated to JN), al-Qaeda in Syria, or al-Qaeda in the Levant, was a Salafist jihadist terrorist organization fighting against the forces of the Syrian government in the Syrian Civil War, with the aim of establishing an Islamic state in the country before merging into Tahrir al-Sham with five other major jihadi groups based in Idlib and Aleppo governorates.
It was openly self acknowledged as the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda until 2016, at which point it rebanded and alleged to have cut all ties to any “external entity”, however it did not explicitly mention breaking away from Al-Qaeda nor renouncing their oath of allegiance to Ayman al-Zawahiri. The group also operates in neighboring Lebanon. In early 2015, the group became one of the major components of the powerful jihadist joint operations room named the Army of Conquest, which took over large territories in Northwestern Syria.
The group announced its formation on 23 January 2012. In November 2012, The Washington Post described al-Nusra as the most successful arm of the rebel forces. Ten days later, the United States designated Jabhat al-Nusra as a foreign terrorist organization, followed by the United Nations Security Council and many other countries.
In early 2015, there were reports that Qatar and other Gulf states were trying to get al-Nusra to split away from al-Qaeda, after which they would support al-Nusra with money. Western observers and a Syrian observer considered such a split unlikely, and in March 2015, al-Nusra’s leadership denied a break-up or that talks with Qatar had occurred. Other Syrian observers considered such a split conceivable or imminent.
On 28 July 2016, Jabhat al-Nusra announced that it’s group had “no affiliation to any external entity”. While some analysts have interpreted this to mean that the group had split from Al-Qaeda, the terrorist group was not specifically mentioned, nor was it stated that their oath of allegiance to Ayman al-Zawahiri was renounced. With members of Al-Qaeda still enmeshed throughout the group’s leadership, it can be considered that Al-Qaeda is not “external” to the group. After the announcement, numerous senior Al-Qaeda members still within the group have been targeted by the US in air strikes. The group’s leader Abu Mohammad al-Julani, in his first recorded video message, stated its new name would be Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (“Front for the Conquest of the Levant”).