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Qaeda chief strikes down merger of Iraq, Syria wings

Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri has ruled that the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Nusra Front in Syria should operate as separate entities, according to a letter posted on Al-Jazeera television`s website.



Damascus: Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri has ruled that the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Nusra Front in Syria should operate as separate entities, according to a letter posted on Al-Jazeera television`s website.
ISI leader Sheikh Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had "made a mistake" by announcing a merger between the two radical Islamist groups in the neighbouring Arab states"without consulting us," he said.

The merger plan has been "damaging to all jihadists", Zahawari said, adding that "Al-Nusra Front is an independent branch of Al-Qaeda".

Zawahiri ordered ISI and Al-Nusra to "cease all hostilities towards each other" and to help each other "in terms of men, money and weapons".

He also appointed cleric Abu Khalid al-Suri as his representative in Syria to arbitrate on any issues resulting from the cancellation of the merger of the two wings.

The authenticity of the letter which Al-Jazeera said it obtained from "reliable sources in Syria" could not be independently verified.

In early April, Baghdadi said that Al-Nusra Front was ISI`s branch in Syria and the ISI would be renamed the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant.

Al-Nusra leader Abu Muhammad al-Julani acknowledged the relationship but rejected the merger and criticised Baghdadi for his announcement.

The declaration caused a stir among jihadists fighting the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, leading Julani to publicly pledge his allegiance to Zawahiri.
In a reaction on Twitter to mediation by Zawahiri, Julani expressed his "respect" for Baghdadi and readiness to cooperate in "confronting the enemies of God".

Al-Nusra Front, created in January 2012, joined Al-Qaeda last December on a US list of foreign terrorist organisations. It has carried out some of the deadliest attacks in the uprising against the Syrian regime, claiming responsibility for several suicide bombings.

AFP

From Zee News

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