Al-Qaida breaks ties with group in Syria

In this Sunday Feb. 2, 2014 citizen journalism image provided by Aleppo Media Center (AMC), an anti-Bashar Assad activist group, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows buildings damaged by Syrian government forces airplanes, in Aleppo, Syria. Syrian government helicopters and warplanes unleashed a wave of airstrikes on more than a dozen opposition-held neighborhoods in the northern city of Aleppo on Sunday, firing missiles and dropping crude barrel bombs in a ferocious attack that killed dozens of people, including at least 17 children, activists said. (AP Photo/Aleppo Media Center, AMC)

CAIRO (AP) — Al-Qaida’s central leadership broke off ties with one of the most powerful militant groups in Syria, known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, and distanced itself from the rebel infighting in that country’s civil war, according to a statement Monday.

The announcement appeared to be an attempt by al-Qaida to put its house in order and reassert influence among rival Islamic groups that have turned against one another in Syria, where the groups have joined rebels in fighting to topple President Bashar Assad.

In past months, the Islamic State — created by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the head of al-Qaida’s branch in Iraq — has increasingly clashed with other hard-line Islamic factions, including assassinating commanders of rival groups with car bombs and shootings.

Al-Baghdadi created the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant last year in defiance of orders from the terror network’s leader, Ayman al-Zawahri, who at the time ordered him to remain the head of al-Qaida’s branch in Iraq, while authorizing another group, Jabhat al-Nusra, or Nusra Front, to operate in Syria in al-Qaida’s name. Al-Baghdadi went ahead and created the new group, becoming a powerful force in Syria’s conflict.

In Monday’s statement, al-Qaida’s general command announced it has “no connection” with the Islamic State, underlined that the group “is not a branch of the al-Qaida organization,” and said al-Qaida “is not responsible for its actions.”

Al-Qaida did not condone the group’s creation “and in fact ordered it to stop,” the statement said.

It also condemned the infighting among Islamic groups, saying, “We distance ourselves from the sedition taking place among the mujahedeen factions (in Syria) and of the forbidden blood shed by any faction.” It warned that mujahedeen, of holy warriors, must recognize the “enormity of the catastrophe” caused by “this sedition.”

It also condemned the infighting among Islamic groups, saying, “We distance ourselves from the sedition taking place among the mujahedeen factions (in Syria) and of the forbidden blood shed by any faction.” It warned that mujahedeen, of holy warriors, must recognize the “enormity of the catastrophe” caused by “this sedition.”

Read more at the Associated Press

2 thoughts on “Al-Qaida breaks ties with group in Syria

  1. It goes on and on. Too bad the rebels and their al qaida cohorts couldn’t have kept their eyes on the prize. Infighting among themselves wastes valuable assets and diverts resources.

    I hope there’s some progress in the talks in Geneva. Slow, but possible breakthroughs.

    Like

    1. Hello, sister. The humanitarian tragedy that is Syria continues. It is a complex situation with no easy solutions. There is more than a little irony in Ayman al-Zawahiri breaking ties with ISIS. As you know, it was precisely because of our inability to distinguish between the more moderate elements of the Syrian opposition and these foreign extremists in Syria that the Obama administration–and now it is abundantly clear that it was the correct foreign policy–was hesitant to arm the Syrian opposition. After all, ISIS represents those very same insurgents who spent a decade attacking American forces in Iraq. It would have been insane to ally ourselves with these elements. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant is now as great a threat to the Syrian opposition as are Assad’s forces. These foreign jihadists have undermined the original goals of the Syrian people’s revolution.

      Like

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