• This image posted on the Twitter page of Syria's al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front on Thursday, May 5, 2016, shows a fighter from the Nusra Front firing a weapon during clashes against Syrian government forces and pro-government militiamen in the town of Khan Touman, near Aleppo province, Syria. Al-Qaida’s branch in Syria has recruited hundreds of new fighters, including teenagers, and taken territory from government forces in a successful offensive in the north, illustrating how the cease-fire put in place by Russia and the United State to weaken the militants has in many ways backfired. Arabic, bottom, reads "preparation for the attack with heavy machine gun fire in Khan Touman." (Al-Nusra Front social media account via AP)

    Syria’s cease-fire strengthens al-Qaida branch

    BEIRUT (AP) — Al-Qaida’s branch in Syria has recruited thousands of fighters, including teenagers, and taken territory from government forces in a successful offensive in the north, illustrating how the cease-fire put in place by Russia and the United States to weaken the militants has in many ways backfired.