Al-Qaida-linked group calls for end to rebel infighting

Jan. 7, 2014 at 4:34 PM
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BEIRUT, Lebanon, Jan. 7 (UPI) -- The leader of an al-Qaida-affiliated group says opponents of Syrian President Bashar Assad should halt the worst of their infighting.

In an online audio recording released Tuesday, the head of the Nusra Front, known as Abu Mohammed al-Jolani, blamed the infighting on the "incorrect policies" of another al-Qaida affiliate, known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, that have angered other rebel groups, the New York Times reported.

However, the authenticity of the recording could not immediately be confirmed, the Times said.

Jolani called for a cease-fire among all sides, and the establishment of an Islamic court to handle disputes, saying the violence could give the Syrian regime's forces the opportunity to regain territory.

"The whole battlefield, including the foreign and local fighters, will pay the price of losing a great jihad because the regime will rebound when it was so close to vanishing," Jolani said.

Battles have raged in recent days across northern Syria between rebel forces and the ISIS, which wants to end Assad's government and replace it with a monolithic Sunni extremist government that rules Iraq and Syria.

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