Strictly speaking they aren’t really Syrians, but the Al Nusra front is in Syria and it’s a leading force in the Sunni side of the Syrian civil war. But interpreting the Syrian Civil War as strictly Syrian Sunni on Syrian Alawite violence is off the mark when Hezbollah and Sunni Salafis from across the region are involved.
And since Middle Eastern borders are largely hypothetical and have no real basic in ethnicity or national identity, the fighting isn’t just limited to Syria. What happens in Syria, ends up in Lebanon.
Lebanon has become an integral part of the plans of al-Nusra Front. Al-Qaeda’s fastest-growing offshoot is seeking to merge Lebanon’s extreme Islamist factions into a united front.
Dergham’s group also works closely with al-Nusra Front in Syria, and has been playing a leading role in plans to establish a “branch” of the organization in Lebanon.
Al-Nusra Front was formed in Syria in 2011. It rapidly grew into the most prominent of all the country’s armed opposition groups once it was joined by like-minded former members of the Lebanese-based groups Jund al-Sham and Fatah al-Islam.
Shiite Islamists tend to want to cooperate with Sunni Islamists. Sunni Islamists however tend to want to wipe out Shiites. That’s why no matter how hard Iran bent over backward courting Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood, Al Qaeda massacred Shiites in Iraq and joined up with the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria against the Neo-Shiite Alawite regime.
Now some of the Salafis are looking to take the holy war train to Lebanon where Hezbollah has taken a pretty firm grip on power. Considering Lebanon’s sizable Shiite and Christian populations that may mean an uphill battle, but a holy war doesn’t stop where people think it should.
Can Sunni Islamists pose a serious threat to Hezbollah in Lebanon if they manage to unite and get Qatari money and weaponry? I wouldn’t rule it out.
Hezbollah’s Syrian intervention has made it vulnerable to charges that it is no longer the “vanguard of resistance” against the Zionist entity but a sectarian force, which it indeed is. Hezbollah’s only way out of that trap is to do what Turkey’s Islamist thug Erdogan is telling Assad to do, attack Israel. This isn’t much of a solution though because a fight with Israel will weaken Hezbollah and make it more vulnerable in the eventual fight against the Salafists.