Inside Story

What changes lie ahead after al-Nusra’s al-Qaeda split?

With al-Nusra Front breaking ties with al-Qaeda, many implications are in store for the Syrian opposition.

Al-Nusra Front is one of the largest and most effective rebel groups in Syria. It controls territory in the north, west and south of the country.

The group has always said it prioritises getting rid of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

It was, until now, al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria, making it a target of both Russia and, more recently, the US.

Now the group has decided to cut ties with al-Qaeda in what appears to be an amicable split.

This move has many implications for the armed opposition in Syria and the way al-Nusra fighters are viewed abroad.

Inside Story looks at whether the split is just a name change or a substantive change of strategy. And asks, how will it affect the situation on the ground?

Presenter: Sami Zeidan


Hassan Abu Haniyeh – expert on Islamic movements.

Haid Haid – Syrian researcher who focuses on conflict studies and Islamic movements.

Monzer Akbik – Syrian opposition figure and former member of the Syrian National Coalition.