Jabhat Al-Nusra militants.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Al-Qaida's branch in Syria, Jabhat al-Nusra, stormed a demonstration in support of the Syrian revolution in the northern province of Idlib on Monday after protesters waved the "secular" flag of the Syrian revolution.
A group of fighters from the security committee of Jaish al-Fatah, a coalition of opposition factions that includes al-Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham, stormed the peaceful protest, arresting several activists, breaking their cameras and throwing flags of the Syrian revolution they had waved in on the floor.
Local activists in Idlib announced that a "massive demonstration" was scheduled to take place on Monday to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the Syrian Revolution. Activists who participated in the demonstration told Syrian media that Jaish al-Fatah's fighters waved Jabhat al-Nusra's flag, calling the revolution's flag an "apostate flag." Most of the Syrian jihadists strongly oppose this flag since secular elements within Syria rally around it as the future symbol of secular Syria.
The province of Idlib, where the peaceful demonstration took place on Monday, was seized by Jaish al-Fatah, with the help of al-Nusra, in March 2015. Thus, in many past demonstrations, activists waved al-Nusra's flag to express their support for the revolution.
The storming incident may give an indication to what the future lives of Syrians under Nusra's rule would like. If Assad indeed steps aside, as they desire, Syrians in Idlib, and in other opposition-controlled areas, might face a Sharia-based rule that violates their basic human rights.
Following the incident, Syrian activists launched a social media campaign against Nusra, using the hashtag "Nusra attacks the revolution." This is a major blow to an organization that is usually regarded as a champion of the Syrian revolution.