Syria's Nusra Front Chief Urges End to Jihadist-Rebel Clashes

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The chief of Syria's Al-Nusra Front, an al-Qaida affiliate, called Tuesday for an end to fighting between rebel groups and the jihadist Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

The message came as the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a monitoring group, said at least 274 people had been killed in the clashes that erupted last Friday.

In an audio recording posted on Twitter, Abu Mohamed al-Jolani announced an initiative to end the fighting, including a "ceasefire" and the establishment of an independent Islamic committee to serve as mediator.

"This unfortunate situation pushed us to launch an initiative to solve the situation," Jolani said.

"It consists of forming a committee based on Islamic law and composed of the key brigades (and)... the establishment of a ceasefire," he said.

The initiative also calls for an exchange of prisoners and urges all fighters "to give priority to the fight against the regime."

In recent days, widespread fighting has broken out pitting coalitions of Islamist and moderate rebel forces against ISIL.

The Observatory NGO said 129 fighters from moderate and Islamist rebel groups had been killed in the clashes, along with 99 ISIL members and 46 civilians.

The Nusra Front, which is al-Qaida's official affiliate in Syria, was established in mid-2011 when ISIL's Iraqi precursor dispatched members to the conflict.

In April 2013, ISIL chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi announced his Iraqi group and Al-Nusra would merge, but Jolani rejected the merger and pledged allegiance directly to al-Qaida chief Ayman al-Zawahiri.

Zawahiri also rejected the merger, urging ISIL to contain its operations to Iraq and naming Nusra al-Qaida's official affiliate in Syria.

Jolani's message on Tuesday blamed ISIL for the outbreak of rebel-jihadist fighting.

"The flawed policy of the Islamic State in the field had a key role in fueling the conflict," he said.

He said the fighting "risks costing us dearly on the ground if it continues, particularly on the Aleppo front, for those under siege in Homs, and for the residents of Damascus and Ghouta (in Damascus province)."

"If the fighting is not resolved, the jihad formed by the muhajireen (foreign fighters) and the ansar (local fighters) risks losing lots of ground," he warned.

"The regime will gain new life when it was close to collapse and the West and the rafidain (Shiites and Alawites) will find a great space," he added.

Comments 19
Thumb cedre 07 January 2014, 16:57

fake picture

Default-user-icon D (Guest) 07 January 2014, 17:19

Whl is the guy in the fake picture?

Missing 07 January 2014, 18:36

Al-Joulani is wrong. ISIS, as an organization, needs to be dismantelled. They have caused amd wiLl continue to cause the revolution massive headaches. You cannot fight a monster in front of you (the regime) while having a psychopath behind you willing to stab you at any point.

Thumb ice-man 07 January 2014, 21:26

i agree

Missing 07 January 2014, 22:37

FT - it is not Joulani picture.

Thumb cedre 08 January 2014, 01:30

this pic has been released by Maliki's boys, so it must be fake...
FT never heard of bearded takfiris ?

Thumb cedre 08 January 2014, 02:30

ask the syrian embassy, they keep the files of their employees..

Missing 07 January 2014, 18:36

Sagh - grow up. He does not represent the reevolution.

Missing 07 January 2014, 19:50

Sagh - by talking about "m14 Saudi culture", you show yourself to be a typical m8 simpleton. M14 does not refer to Shia as Radideen. Indiots do as there are idiots on the other side who use sectarian laguage (like you). M14 has been the target of all political assasinations. Leaders from Hzb has been indicted and refuse to go in front of jusstice. M8 leaders and mouthpieaces threaten violence on alnmost daily basis. Heck even their street keep repeating the threat of May 7 after any discussion. As for violence, the one responsible for the overwhelming majority of violence and death in syria is the sectarian regime you support.

Thumb bill_the_butcher 07 January 2014, 22:18

This is priceless...
Assad is probably sitting back with his feet up smoking a cigar, drinking his Scotch enjoying every single minute of this.

Missing 07 January 2014, 22:41

Bill --- you forgot democratic. It is after all why the syrian people demonstrated for and for which they were met with aa hail of bullets from the cigar smokng scotch drinking butcher.

Thumb bill_the_butcher 07 January 2014, 22:49

I did not add the word "democratic". Assad is alot of things, but he is not democratic. But then again, neither are the FSA bed-wetters or the Al-Qeada rats.

Assad is Secular, and he was loved for that.
FSA cant beat Al-Qeada and vise-versa. So what if these two groups start negotiating?? You'd be ok with a compromise between them???
Or it doesnt matter who's in charge as long as Assad is gone???

Missing 08 January 2014, 01:24

FSA stated goal is a democratic pluralistic state and that is the outcome I care about, preferably with least amount of suffering. And if this means negotiate with a criminal regime, then be it.

Thumb lonerider 07 January 2014, 23:32

ISIL now want to crush the opposition fighters. The real opposition should join the Syrian army, eliminate the KSA terrorists and resolve their differences politically.

Missing 08 January 2014, 01:30

The Syrian people are facing two monsters: the regime and ISIS. In order to get rid of the first, they need to slay the second. Any resolution must include Assad and the criminal mafia around him.

Default-user-icon Mandy Lee (Guest) 08 January 2014, 01:24

Nice to see you, allouchti.

Missing 08 January 2014, 01:34

ISIS is not funded by KSA and the front that is fighting ISIS is mostly supported by KSA. The biggest criminal in Syria is the regime followed by a long distance by ISIS. People can consult human rights organization reports (google human rights watch syria)

Default-user-icon Francois (Guest) 08 January 2014, 02:21

Am I the only one who feels Assad is the only one to benefit from the introduction of al Qaeda and this whole ISIL charade? It's as if he (or any one of his friends) put them here to smear the rebels, indict them and downright crush them. And the history of his criminal regime is ripe with such maneuvers. Whodathunk?

Thumb Qawmi_Boris 08 January 2014, 02:28

Ya al-Jolani why did Bashar free you from the Saidnaya Prison back in june 2011?