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Jordan closes border crossing as rebels, Al Nusrah Front advance

Jordan has closed access to the Nasib border crossing with Syria after rebels, including the Al Nusrah Front, took control of the site.

Various rebel groups claimed to have taken over the border crossing, posting pictures and videos of their fighters overrunning the location. Fighters from the Free Syrian Army (FSA) are among them.

"Our fighters were able to seize the Nasib crossing after forcing pro-Assad militias to withdraw from the area," Muhammad Horani of the FSA told ARA News in a telephone interview. "The liberation of the Nasib crossing was a result of a strategic operation by several rebel factions," Horani explained.

The "rebel factions" include the Al Nusrah Front, al Qaeda's official branch in Syria, the al Qaeda-linked Ahrar al Sham and Jaysh al Islam.

In a post on its official Twitter feed, the Islamic Front, a coalition of several groups led by Ahrar al Sham, announced that the border with Jordan was now "fully under the control of the mujahideen."

Separately, the Al Nusrah Front posted images (seen below) on its Twitter feed showing its fighters inside the border crossing. One photo depicts prisoners who were held by regime forces at Nasib and have now been freed. Other photos, including the one reproduced at the beginning of this article, show Al Nusrah's fighters inside the crossing.

This not the first time the border crossing has been closed since the beginning of the Syrian war. It remains to be seen if the rebels can hold onto it.

But the gains made by anti-Assad forces in the south come at a time when Al Nusrah, Ahrar al Sham and their allies have also seized the city of Idlib in the north.

Late last month, the rebels defeated regime forces in Busra al Sham, an ancient city that is located in the southern Dara'a province of Syria. As during the battle for Nasib, the rebel coalition in Busra included Free Syrian Army fighters, as well as jihadists from Al Nusrah, Ahrar al Sham and other organizations.

There have been persistent rumors of infighting between the various factions, even as they coordinate against Assad and his Iranian-backed proxies. On Mar. 28, Al Nusrah posted a message on its "correspondent" Twitter feed for Dara'a denying any role in the rebel infighting in Busra al Sham and calling on all groups in the city to "serve sharia and jihad over any other interest."

The next day, Mar. 29, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that two other factions had fought over how to divide ammunition and arms seized during the capture of Busra al Sham.

Below are some images from the Nasib border crossing after the various groups took control of it.

[Source: By Thomas Joscelyn, The Long War Journal, 02Apr15]

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small logoThis document has been published on 03Apr15 by the Equipo Nizkor and Derechos Human Rights. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.