In the al-Qaeda takeover of Azaz, Aljazeera reports that five members of the Free Syria Army (FSA) were killed, and about 100 people were taken hostage. The United States' support for Syrian rebels can easily land military equipment in the hands of al-Qaeda, as Syrian rebel groups like these, continue to fight each other.
The Syrian rebel al-Qaeda fighters who took part in the Azaz takeover are members of the “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.”
Among the Syrian rebels that oppose president Bashir al-Assad, The Free Syrian Army is viewed as a more moderate and secular group, compared to the Jabhat al-Nusra.
The Free Syrian Army was formed in 2011 by deserters of the Syrian military. The group claims to have no political goal, other than the removal of Syria President Bashar al-Assad.
In April 2013, the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant released an audio tape stating they have been financial supporters of Jabhat al-Nusra. They further declared the two groups had merged, and Jabhat al-Nusra would be their official branch in Syria.
Jabhat al-Nusra has been accused of horrific atrocities against the Syrian military, with video emerging earlier this year, showing a Jabhat al-Nusra front brigade commander eating the heart and liver of a Syrian soldier killed by their attacks. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant is also believed to be responsible for the deaths of thousands of Iraqi civilians, as well as members of the Iraqi government, pledging their allegiance to al-Qaeda in 2004.
The Turkish government supports the removal of Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, and has allowed Syrian rebel forces access to Syria through their borders, but the take over of Azaz, and the proximity of al-Qaeda forces to their borders, is something the Turkish government sees as a security risk. Aljazeera further reports that Syrian rebel al-Qaeda fighters have been terrorizing the region, and it is believed the hostile takeover occured when:
fighting broke out after the Storm of the North Brigade, an FSA unit, resisted attempts by the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant to abduct a German doctor working as a volunteer at a private hospital in Azaz
The fighting in the area still continues, and the conflict is getting closer to the Turkish border. This week has been excessively violent in the region, with a bomb blast going off near one of the border crossings yesterday, and on Monday, the Turkish military was forced to shoot down a Syrian regime helicopter invading their airspace.