Government forces move through Qusayr, captured by the Syrian military last Wednesday
Entries in Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (5)
Writing for Al Jazeera English, Basma Atassi, claims that the head of Al Qa'eda, Ayman al-Zawahari, has intervened in a dispute between the Syrian insurgency Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State of Iraq with a letter to the leaders of the two groups.
The clash arose in April when the head of the ISI, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, tried to claim oversight of Jabhat al-Nusra in a message. A senior JAN commander, Abu Muhammad al-Joulani, responded by asserting the insurgents' autonomy in Syria.
Media coverage incorrectly claimed that the ISI and JAN had "merged", as well as emphasising al-Joulani's reference to al-Zawahari as a "pledge of allegiance".
Video Showing Execution In Raqqa Last Week
Scott Lucas and Joanna Paraszczuk write:
For weeks, we have noted how the media and "experts" have used one paragraph from the statement of a leader of the Islamist faction Jabhat al-Nusra --- ripping it out of context of the rest of the statement, let alone developments on the ground or an understanding of the Syria conflict --- reducing the group with the simplistic tag of "Al Qa'eda-linked" or "Al Qa'eda affiliate".
For weeks, we have tried to knock down that too-easy and misleading narrative, offering a full translation of Jabhat al-Nusra's statement and evaluating the complex political and social situation in Syria, especially in the north, and discussing how the media has created a misleading myth of "Al Qaeda" that precludes any deeper understanding of the nuanced reality on the ground in Syria and elsewhere.
However, the simplistic story that Al Qa'eda is "taking over Jabhat al-Nusra" persists.
Indeed, for some journalists, that easy narrative is no longer enough.
One of the pictures accompanying the scare stories of Al Qa'eda taking control of part of the Syrian insurgency (Photo: AP)
This is the story of a story.
Or, rather, this is the story of the creation of a myth --- the myth that Al Qa'eda has taken over parts of the Syrian insurgency.
This is the story of how that myth --- based on failure to consider sources, let alone evaluate them; built by exaggeration and distortion --- points to the media's failure to responsibly cover important developments. More importantly, it indicates how that failure can have political consequences which are counter-productive and dangerous, contributing to poor decisions by policymakers.
2029 GMT: Syrian Jet Bombs Lebanon. Once again, a Syrian jet has dropped bombs in northeastern Lebanon, according to the AFP:
"A Syrian jet dropped five shells on the outskirts of Sarjal Ajram. No one was hurt," the official said.
Sarjal Ajram lies northeast of Arsal, which is home to a majority Sunni population, and whose residents support the uprising in neighbouring Syria against President Bashar al-Assad.
2019 GMT: Rebel Attack on Hama Airport. Earlier we reported that rebels were attacking Hama airport with homemade rocket launchers (see update 1733). According to Now Lebanon, which cites activists, the regime has evacuated its helicopters from the airport in response:
The activist Syrian Media Center said that regime forces moved helicopters from the under-fire airport to a base in Dair Shamil, a small Alawite-populated village west of Hama.