A controversial new monument in Dresden to the victims of the battle for Aleppo may have been inspired by temporary fortifications set up by radical Islamists linked to al-Qaeda and the killing of Christians.
In the central square of Dresden, Syrian artist Manaf Halbouni has erected three buses to recreate a famous photograph taken by a Reuters photo-journalist during the battle of Aleppo. The image, which shows three buses stood up, is said to be a fortification against snipers from the Syrian army of president Bashar al-Assad.
The flag on the top of the image, according to anti-mass migration NGO Einprozent, belongs to a radical Islamist group who were allied with the al-Qaeda-backed al-Nusra Front.
The group, Ahrar al-Sham, who have since changed their official flag, are described as a collection of radical Islamists and Salafists who want to overthrow Bashar al-Assad and implement strict Sharia law in Syria. According to Amnesty International, the group has engaged in the torture of political opponents and religious minorities alongside other groups like al-Nusra Front (which changed its name to Jabhat Fateh al-Sham in 2016) and the Nour al-Dine Zinki Movement.
Ahrar al-Sham is also accused of specifically persecuting and killing Christians. Reports say the organization killed Christians after “liberating” the city of Idlib in northwest Syria in March 2015.
— Axel Lier ✏️ (@Reporter_Flash) March 23, 2015
Despite accusations of torture and targeting Christians, the Council on Foreign Relations published an article called, “The Good and Bad of Ahrar al-Sham: An al Qaeda–Linked Group Worth Befriending”. The think tank claimed the group may serve U.S. interests to counter more radical groups like Islamic State.