As previously reported on The WIDER View, a watch tower (al Zahiya, Zahia, Bright tower, Bright hill), in the Jabal/Jebel Turkman region of Latakia was reportedly captured earlier this week by Western deemed moderate group the 1st Coastal Division, a group vetted by the CIA to receive US TOW missiles.
But on the same day and in the same location, images and videos were released by fundamentalist Sunni Islamic groups Jabhat al Nusrah and Jabhat Ansar al Din showing the capture of the same location.
All apparently worked together to capture the watch tower structure and surrounding area from Syrian Arab Army forces and associated militias.
Videos and images conclusively proving this can be found in a previous post below.
However, following additional research it seems even more groups also assisted in the operation including the Western deemed moderate group the 10th Coastal Division (affiliate of the 1st Coastal Division) and Ansar al Sham, part of the fundamentalist Sunni Islamic group the Islamic Front.
So far at least two Western deemed moderate groups and three fundamentalist Sunni Islamic groups were involved in the assault to take the watch tower and surrounding area in Latakia. These groups are as follows:
- 1st Coastal Division (Western deemed moderate)
- 10th Coastal Division (Western deemed moderate)
- Jabhat al Nusrah (fundamentalist Sunni Islamic group – Terrorist deemed organisation by US)
- Sham al Islam (fundamentalist Sunni Islamic group – Terrorist deemed organisation by US)
- Ansar al Sham (fundamentalist Sunni Islamic group)
- UPDATE 30 Nov 2015 – 2nd Coastal Division (Western deemed moderate)
- UPDATE 30 Nov 2015 – Ahrar al Sham (fundamentalist Sunni Islamic group)
Following the updates there are now three Western deemed moderate groups and four fundamentalist Sunni Islamic groups confirmed to be involved in the assault.
See videos taken from both the 10th Coastal Division and Ansar al Sham youtube pages with original descriptions supporting each video.
- Youtube video (24 Nov 2015) – Ansar al- Sham – Reeve Latakia || Regained control of the tower bright Turkmen and Jebel al-Assad of it Dhrasabat:
- Youtube video (24 Nov 2015) – Ansar al- Sham – Reeve Latakia || Tour with the mujahideen in bright Tower Mount Turkmens after its liberation:
- Youtube video (24 Nov 2015) – in the Sahel / edit bright tower – mount Turkmen ( fighters from the battlefield during the clashes )
- Youtube video (24 Nov 2015) – in the Sahel / clashes while editing bright tower in Mount Turkmen 24-11-2015m:
- Youtube video (24 Nov 2015) – edit bright tower – mount Turkmen ( clashes and sweep of the battlefield ) 24-11-2015m:
UPDATE 30 November 2015 – Ahrar al Sham confirm control of the same watch tower on their official Twitter page as seen in the image below from 27 November 2015:
The ‘and other factions’ mentioned in the tweet are bullet pointed above.
Below is confirmation from the 2nd Coastal Division youtube page that they also conquered the exact same watch tower as all the other groups, at the same time, though no group has mentioned the other.
- Youtube video (27 Nov 2015) – Brigades of the Second Division Coastal moment break into the bright Tower:
Images below are taken from the 2nd Coastal Division video:
This further highlights the complicated situation on the ground, affiliations and cooperation with Western deemed moderate groups and fundamentalist Sunni Islamic groups such as Jabhat al Nusrah (al Qaeda in Syria).
It shows the attempted suppression of facts by the FSA as no mention is made of the role clearly played by fundamentalist Sunni Islamic groups in their report on the capture of the tower. Only the 1st Coastal Division is mentioned, see related post below.
It also exposes the alleged rigorous CIA vetting procedure that allows supplies of aid and US military equipment, including US anti tank missiles, to groups such as the 1st Coastal Division.
This arrangement is based on such groups espousing a moderate, democratic view of Syria’s future yet they appear to contradict this impression by clearly working in direct cooperation with US deemed terrorist organisations.