Syria's Nusra Front Says Will Retaliate for Airstrikes

Suri singled out those Arab countries, saying they had lined up "on the side of oppression and of the infidels" and that "this will have consequences"

The Al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front on Saturday denounced US-led airstrikes on Syria, saying they amounted to a war against Islam and vowing to retaliate against Western and Arab countries that took part.

 

"We are in a long war. This war will not end in months nor years, this war could last for decades," the group's spokesman Abu Firas al-Suri said.

 

"It's not a war against Nusra Front, it's a war against Islam," he added in an audio message published on the group's social media network, its first reaction since the launch of the US-led strikes on Tuesday.

 

Many buildings got damaged following the US-led airstrikes against the headquarters of Nusra Front's snipers in a residential area of Al-Muhandisin district of Aleppo, Syria, Anadolu reported on Sunday.

 

In August, the US began bombing targets in Iraq of the Islamic State (IS) group.

 

This week, the operation was widened to Syria and to Al-Qaeda, as well as IS targets, with warplanes not only from the United States, but also Bahrain, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

 

Suri singled out those Arab countries, saying they had lined up "on the side of oppression and of the infidels" and that "this will have consequences".

 

"These countries have done a despicable act that will put them on the list of those targeted by jihadist forces all over the world," the spokesman said.

 

Airstrikes destroy oil refineries

 

The US-led coalition destroyed three makeshift oil refineries in jihadist-controlled territory in Syria early on Sunday as it pressed efforts to deny IS militants funding, a monitoring group said.

 

The coalition strikes hit close by the Turkish frontier, near the town of Tal Abyad just across the border fence from the Turkish town of Akcakale, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

 

They came after at least a dozen strikes on Thursday night on the refinery infrastructure that the jihadists have developed in the swathe of territory they control in eastern Syria, which includes many of the country's main oil fields.

 

"At least three makeshift refineries under IS control in the Tal Abyad region were destroyed overnight," the Observatory said.

 

"IS had been refining crude and selling it to Turkish buyers," said the Britain-based watchdog, which has a broad network of sources inside Syria.

 

Before the launch of US-led air strikes on IS in Syria last Tuesday analysts say the jihadists were earning as much as $3 million a day from oil revenues.

 

Output from IS-controlled fields stood at 80,000 barrels per day, far exceeding the 17,000 barrels per day the Syrian oil ministry said it was pumping.

 

The strikes around Tal Abyad came after Saturday raids on the mainly Kurdish town of Ain al-Arab, also very close to the Turkish border.

 

The town, known as Kobane in Kurdish, has been under assault by IS for more than a week, sparking an exodus of at least 160,000 refugees into Turkey.

 

The coalition also kept up its raids on the jihadist heartland province of Raqqa early Sunday as it pressed what Washington says are "near continuous" strikes.

 

However, critics opposed to US involvement in the conflict with the jihadi militants have pointed out that Washington in partnership with its Gulf allies, especially Saudi Arabia, played a role in the formation and expansion of extremist groups like IS by arming, financing and politically empowering the armed opposition in Syria.

 

A study by the London-based small-arms research organization Conflict Armament Research revealed that IS jihadists appear to be using US military issue arms and weapons supplied to the “moderate” rebels in Syria by Saudi Arabia.

 

 

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