On 24 January 2012, al Nusrah claimed an attack against a military target in Syria (Idlib), near the Turkish border. Since then, writes the International Crisis Group in this document, al Nusrah “regularly takes responsibility for suicide attacks in civilian neighbourhoods; is viewed by al-Qaeda as the favoured Salafi-jihadi group; and employs an online media dissemination strategy akin to that of al-Qaeda affiliates and offshoots” (p. 10).
Al-Nusra’s statements and videos are issued ONLY by al-Manara al-Baida (The White Minaret).
First – al Manara al Baida institution is the only and exclusive entitled part that is permitted to publish what comes out from Al-Nusra Front [...]
To this day, al Nusrah remains the sole active jihadi group to receive the direct endorsement of pro-al-Qaeda online forum administrators and prominent Salafi-jihadi figures. Its propaganda material is accredited by al Qaeda’s media distribution network and advertised on Shamikh al Islam, the leading pro-al-Qaeda forum.
Logo de Shamikh al islam
Since Shamikh al Islam network is recognised by online al-Qaeda supporters as the authoritative jihadi web site, the forum administrators’ decision to showcase a group’s material gives it a stamp of approval. Most material on the forum is produced by al Qaeda affiliates and bears the label of the al Fajr Media Centre, the online outfit responsible for distributing al Qaeda material.
Many prominent al-Qaeda-linked Salafists promote al Nusrah as the most authoritative jihadist faction in Syria, and urged potential mujahidins to join its ranks.
Announcement of the formation of the Fighting Vanguard an Battalion of al Nusra:
August 9, 2012
Al Nusrah portrays itself as the Sunni community’s defender against the “Alawite enemy” and its ‘Shiite agents’. It routinely uses the word “‘Nuṣayrī’ (Arabic: نصيريون)” instead of ‘Alawīyyah’ (Arabic: علوية) in order to highlight the creed’s divorce from orthodox Islam. ‘Nuṣayrī’ refers to the faith’s founder, a student of the eleventh Shiite Imam, whereas ‘Alawīyyah’ refers to ‘Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib’, considered by Sunnis to be fourth and final of the Rashidun, “rightly-guided” Caliph.
Abu Munther al Shanqiti, a member of the influential website Minbar al Tawhed al Jihad (Pulpit of Monotheism and Jihad), who has written essays such as “In the footsteps of Sheikh Osama,” and “Is it Legal to Participate in the Riots in Europe with the Intention of Jihad?” is a stern advocate of al-Nusra.
Crisis Group also cite Egyptian Salafist al Sabai, Shamikh writer Abu Saad al Amili, and Jordanian Salafist Abu Muhammad al Tahawi among those the prominent clerics urging Syrian Salafist jihadis to join al Nusrah. They do NOT invite them to clash with the FSA however, but to cooperate with non-Salafi factions. Some of them criticize the FSA’s leaders for adopting “infidel democracy” and accepting the legitimacy of the U.N. and of “apostate” Arab regimes. But they all acknowledge the FSA contribution to the fight against the Assad regime.
Al Nusrah “claimed in its first video that its members included Syrian jihadists who had returned from fighting on other battlefronts.”
It grew in late March and April 2012 after those leading jihadists joined the leadership and were able to secure sponsorship of key Salafi-jihadi.
27 July 2012 YouTube video showcasing six fighters claiming responsibility for disabling a Syrian army burning tank on behalf of al-Nusra:
al Nusra killed an Assad military man: