Jabhat al-Nusra fighters 370.
(photo credit: Ahmed Jadallah/Reuters)
The al-Qaida-linked al-Nusra Front in Syria doubled its members from around 300-
400 jihadists to 1,000 as Syrian fighters in Iraq have returned to their
country, according to a report on Thursday in the Turkish daily
The report claims that many of the returning fighters were
originally sent to Iraq by Syrian President Bashar Assad to promote his regime’s
One of the reasons that Syrian jihadists are returning to
Syria is that the US designation of the al-Nusra group as a terrorist
organization has increased its popularity to jihadists, according to the report.
The Syrian fighters have been returning to the country in small numbers so as
not to draw international attention.
Turkey and the Syrian opposition
group, The Syrian National Coalition, tried to convince the US not to label the
group as a terrorist organization, the report states.
were reports this week by McClatchy of fighting between another opposition
group, the Farouq Battalions, and al- Nusra. Four people were reported killed on
Sunday in the fighting, which illustrates the divisions in the Syrian
opposition, even between Islamist groups that have some ideological
The Syrian opposition recently became more divided after
Ghassan Hitto was chosen to be the interim prime minister, over the objections
of parts of the opposition.