A Syrian opposition commander and a high level militant say leaders from the two groups met between midnight and 4 a.m. at a farmhouse in northern Syria to agree to stop fighting each other and fight together against their opponents. The accord is believed to be fragile, and won’t soon extend to a full merger of the Islamic State (ISIS) and Nusra, Syria’s Al Qaeda affiliate. But it is expected to increase the level of opposition that more moderate rebels fighting against both the extremist groups and the Assad government, and backed by the U.S.-led international coalition, are facing in the conflict.
Intelligence and Department of Defense officials believe that 20-30 former Guantanamo Bay detainees released within the last two to three years have joined groups like ISIS, Al Nusra and Al Qaeda. Of the 620 detainees released from Guantanamo Bay, 180 have returned or are suspected to have returned to the battlefield. Officials say most of those 20 to 30 are operating inside Syria, while some are providing support including financing to radical groups from outside the country.