Al-Qaeda Abducts US-Backed Rebels in Syria

Al-Qaeda Abducts US-Backed Rebels in SyriaAl-Qaeda Abducts US-Backed Rebels in Syria

The leader of a US-backed rebel group and several of his men have been abducted in northern Syria by the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front, the rebel group and opposition activists said Thursday.

A statement issued in the name of the group, “Division 30,” accused the Nusra Front of abducting Nadim al-Hassan and several other members of the group in the northern Aleppo. It called for their immediate release “to avoid bloodshed,” France24 reported.

There was no official comment from the Nusra Front, which has in the past moved against rebel groups backed by the US.

The kidnapping, which occurred Wednesday night, came a few days after the US and Turkey announced the outlines of a deal to help rebels push IS back from a strip of territory it controls along the Syrian-Turkish border, replacing it with more moderate rebels backed by Washington and Ankara.

A representative of “Division 30” said reports that the group was western-backed were likely the reason behind the kidnapping.