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Thu Dec 20, 2012, 05:21 AM

 

Al Qaeda grows powerful in Syria as endgame nears

By Khaled Yacoub Oweis
Reuters
Dec 20, 2012

AMMAN - Having seen its star wane in Iraq, al Qaeda has staged a comeback in neighbouring Syria, posing a dilemma for the opposition fighting to remove President Bashar al-Assad and making the West balk at military backing for the revolt.

The rise of al Qaeda's affiliate in Syria, al-Nusra Front, which the United States designated a terrorist organisation last week, could usher in a long and deadly confrontation with the West, and perhaps Israel.

Inside Syria, the group is exploiting a widening sectarian rift to recruit Sunnis who saw themselves as disenfranchised by Assad's Alawite minority, an offshoot of Shi'ite Islam that dominates Syria's power and security structures.

Al-Nusra appears to have gained popularity in a country that has turned more religious as the uprising, mainly among Sunni Muslims, has been met with increasing force by authorities.

More: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/12/20/us-syria-crisis-qaeda-idUSBRE8BJ06B20121220

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