A Jordanian air force captain has deserted his post to join the Syrian Jabhat al-Nusra (Al Nusra Front) jihadist rebel group fighting against President Bashar al-Assad.
The news was revealed Monday by a family member and Salafist leader, who told the AFP news agency.
The source, who asked for anonymity, told AFP “the captain from the southern city of Krak hs been in touch with members of Nusra and has decided to join them.
“There are eight people fighting with Nusra from this area,” he said.
Such a trend is not widely publicized, with news of defections and desertions usually emerging in the other direction – with Syrian military personnel fleeing to safety in other countries, including Jordan.
Jabhat al-Nusra is the largest of 13 radical Islamist factions that have formed the Islamist Front for the Liberation of Syria (IFLS), a coalition that broke away from the mainstream Syrian National Council (SNC) that is represented by the Free Syrian Army (FSA).
Al Nusra is linked with Al Qaeda, as are most of the factions in IFLS, and rarely fights together with the FSA. Nevertheless, the two groups do on occasion coordinate their efforts in order to achieve a common military objective.
It is this concern – that arms given to moderate rebels could fall into the hands of Al Qaeda jihadists – that has prevented the United States and Europe from heavily arming the rebel fighters up to this point.