Syria al-Qaeda leader gives rivals ultimatum

Jabhat al-Nusra chief tells rebel faction ISIL to end infighting in Syria or be "expelled" from the region.

    Syria al-Qaeda leader gives rivals ultimatum
    Jabhat al-Nusra is the official branch of al-Qaeda in Syria [AFP]

    The leader of a powerful al-Qaeda faction in Syria has given its rival breakaway group a five-day ultimatum to accept mediation to end infighting or be "expelled'' from the region.

    Abu Mohammed al-Golani, the Nusra leader, on Tuesday delivered his ultimatum to the leadership of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and other Islamic factions.

    Golani warned the ISIL that it would be driven both from Syria and "even from Iraq" if it rejected the results of arbitration.

    "We are waiting for your official answer within five days of issuing this statement," said al-Golani in the recording posted on the internet.

    "By God, if you reject God's judgment again, and do not stop your arrogant overlording over the Muslim nation, then [we] will be forced to launch an assault against this aggressive, ignorant ideology and will expel it, even from Iraq."

    Fighting between the rebel factions has killed hundreds of people since the beginning of the year and is undermining the wider battle against President Bashar al-Assad.

    The warning comes two days after the killing of Abu Khaled al-Suri, who had acted as al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahri's representative in Syria.

    Rebels and activists believe he was assassinated by two suicide bombers from the ISIL.

    Zawahri has named Nusra as al-Qaeda's branch in Syria and has disowned ISIL, which sprang from the group originally known as al-Qaeda in Iraq.

    The Iraq-based group has angered other factions with its brutal tactics and harsh laws in areas it controls in the northeast.

    Nearly 2,000 people have been killed in fighting between the group and other factions, including Nusra.

    In his audio recording, Golani suggested the arbitration be conducted by three senior al-Qaeda ideologists, including two imprisoned in Jordan and one imprisoned in Saudi Arabia.

    He did not say how they would handle the arbitration while in detention.

    Both Nusra and ISIL are considered terrorist organisations by the US.

    SOURCE: Associated Press


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    How different voting systems work around the world

    How different voting systems work around the world

    Nearly two billion voters in 52 countries around the world will head to the polls this year to elect their leaders.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    The great plunder: Nepal's stolen treasures

    The great plunder: Nepal's stolen treasures

    How the art world's hunger for ancient artefacts is destroying a centuries-old culture. A journey across the Himalayas.