"... Al Qaeda's Iraq-based wing, which nurtured Nusra in the early stages of the rebellion against Assad, has moved in and sidelined the organization, Nusra sources and other rebels say.Al Qaeda in Iraq includes thousands of foreign fighters whose ultimate goal is not toppling Assad but the anti-Western jihad of al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri - a shift which could extend Syria's conflict well beyond any political accord between Assad and his foes... And if the West were to intervene, it may now be under pressure to attack al Qaeda opposition forces rather than Assad.
"Nusra is now two Nusras. One that is pursuing al Qaeda's agenda of a greater Islamic nation, and another that is Syrian with a national agenda to help us fight Assad, It is disintegrating from within" said a senior rebel commander in Syria who has close ties to the Nusra Front. Others said that Nusra's Syrian contingent has already effectively collapsed ... , ..., ...
Nusra sources said they were waiting for Zawahri to settle the issue, hoping he would call on Baghdadi to return to Iraq.
"We have two choices now. Either Zawahri announces the separation of Syria's Nusra from Iraq's Islamic State, or he orders Baghdadi to stay (in Syria) and if this happen then its a disaster," said one Nusra source. "Baghdadi has harmed the Nusra Front. He caused great damage and broke up the front."
But the Syrian rebel commander, who is from a Western-backed rebel group, said that Baghdadi already had Zawahri's blessing when he moved in....
The senior rebel commander said he even expected the growing clout of Baghdadi's fighters would finally end the West's reluctance to intervene militarily in Syria - not against Assad, but his hardline enemies.
"We expect soon drone attacks, like Yemen, to begin against al Qaeda members," he said.... "