Following recent infighting with other Syrian rebel groups in the northwestern part of the country, al Qaeda in Syria appears to have recognized the need to secure legitimacy and present itself to the civilian population it seeks to influence as an authentically Syrian entity. To that end, in late January, al Qaeda’s ...

The Cipher Brief sat down with Charles Lister, Senior Fellow at the Middle East Institute, to discuss al Qaeda in Syria’s latest rebranding, how the group is expanding its influence across the country, and the implications for U.S. security. The Cipher Brief: How influential is al Qaeda in Syria? What ...

While the U.S. remains focused on defeating ISIS in Syria and Iraq, al Qaeda in Syria is accumulating strength at an alarming pace and may eventually pose the most daunting counterterrorism challenge that the U.S. has ever faced. “Al Qaeda has methodically enhanced its standing in Syria and finds itself ...

Regardless of its name change and highly publicized “split” from al Qaeda this past summer, Jabhat Fateh-al Sham (JFS), formerly known as Jabhat al-Nusra, remains firmly on the United States’ terrorist radar. “We judge a group by what they do, not by what they call themselves,” said U.S. State Department ...

Three months after its “split” from al Qaeda, which in reality is simply a feint, Jabhat Fateh al Sham (JFS), formerly known as Jabhat al Nusra, may pose a more significant long-term threat to the West than the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). While the West targets ISIS, JFS is quietly ...

The battle to liberate Mosul in Iraq from the tentacles of the Islamic State (ISIS) is turning attention away from Syria, where fighting continues to rage. And whenever attention to Syria is given, ISIS remains a key focus. This may be understandable considering ISIS—and not any other armed group in ...

The recent “cancellation” of Jabhat al Nusra’s operations along with the formation of a new entity independent from al Qaeda, named Jabhat Fatah al Sham, appears to signal the decline of al Qaeda as a global movement. Instead, however, it is al Qaeda’s latest ploy to buy time to set ...