February 10, 2015

TSG IntelBrief: Extremists and Rebels Battle for Northern Syria

 • Amid reports the Islamic State is withdrawing from parts of Aleppo, the fighting in northern Syria has increasingly become Turkey’s regional battlefield

• With the pullback of the Islamic State from some locations, the battlefield in northern Syria is being divided into two camps: al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra, and a rebel umbrella group called al-Jabhat al-Shamiyah, which contains both extremist and comparatively more moderate fighting factions

• The decline of the Islamic State near Aleppo, Idlib, and other areas does not mean that the group is in its death throes nor that extremism is in retreat; it is simply changing its name.