In the above report, originally aired March 27 on Al Jazeera Arabic, we can see an example of the mainstreaming of Jabhat al-Nusra (JAN) in regional media.
The report is titled (in Arabic) “Battles Between the Regime and Free Syrian Armies in al-Ghouta al-Sharqiya Outside Damascus.” As you can see from the video and the below translation, however, in this case Free Syrian Army (FSA) forces seem to have been subsumed by a JAN command. The report, including Jazeera reporter Ahmed Zeidan apparently being walked through the town by JAN fighters and a brief interview with a JAN spokesman, arguably shows a normalizing of JAN’s role within the Syrian revolution in pan-Arab media – or, at the least, Al Jazeera.
On an unrelated note, you can see from the end of the report that Jazeera is putting a strong emphasis on the regime’s (as yet unconfirmed) use of chemical weapons.
Military reinforcements sent by Jabhat al-Nusra to the ’Ateiba area in al-Ghouta al-Sharqiya (East Ghouta), where the regime was able to cut off revolutionaries’ route to northern and southern areas several days ago. Al-Nusra’s fighters deployed across the front lines after they managed to expel the regime’s army from several buildings within the town, which drove Free Syrian Army forces to turn over control of the operations room to Jabhat al-Nusra.
Shells and bullets everywhere, including the destruction of a regime tank.
Meanwhile, the Syrian regime’s army issues threats Jabhat al-Nusra, meanwhile, issues threats to the regime.
“Abu Hommam,” official spokesman of Jabhat al-Nusra in al-Ghouta: “Assad’s gangs approached from a number of directions in a desperate, failed attempt to occupy the town of ’Ateiba in order to impose a choking siege on the region. With the aid of God Most High, this invading force was repelled. A large quantity of equipment [lit. machines] and
‘Shelka’ vehicles Shilkas were destroyed; [the force] suffered grave losses of life among its soldiers, and, with the aid of God Most High, high-ranking officers were killed.”
Destruction is everywhere in the town of ’Ateiba, which is now entirely deserted. Here, a child’s swing near where a shell struck. Here, a kitchen abandoned by its owner amid the shelling around it. It seems from this house that its family fled in the night. Even chickens were not spared from the bombing.
This young man from ’Ateiba become a revolutionary and a fighter after his house, like others, was destroyed. “These houses, we invested in them with our blood all these years, all with the blessings of God, praise be to Him. What I’d like to say to the Arab nation, to this Arab Summit, is just that we want to stop this blood[shed] and killing that’s happening now in Syria.”
On the front lines, what worries some revolutionaries is the regime’s use of chemical weapons. In the rear, though, what worries civilians is the regime’s use of these heavy weapons – in addition to the use of chemical weapons.
Ahmed Zeidan, Al Jazeera, al-’Ateiba, al-Ghouta al-Sharqiya.
First, I just don’t have time to put subtitles on this one. Sorry – hope everyone can follow along with the text.
I couldn’t find the vehicle make to which the JAN member refers. I guess it sounds like “Shellka” or “Chelka”? If someone chimes in with a correction, I’ll fix it.
Update: Woof, sorry, misheard one of the sentences above. The edit should be visible.
Update 2: So, this is the Shilka. Thanks to Mike and @ElSaltador for their help!