Syria's al-Nusra Front leader urges end to jihadist-rebel clashes

Syria's al-Nusra Front leader urges end to jihadist-rebel clashes

BEIRUT - Agence France-Presse
Syrias al-Nusra Front leader urges end to jihadist-rebel clashes

Member of al-Jabha al-Islamiya mans a checkpoint between the village of Kafaroumeh and the town of Maaret al-Naaman, to prevent members of al Qaeda-affiliated ISIL from advancing towards Jabal Al-Zawiya, in Idlibprovince, Jan. 6. REUTERS photo

The chief of Syria's al-Nusra Front, an Al-Qaeda affiliate, called Jan. 7 for an end to fighting between rebel groups and the jihadist Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

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, calling on 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 al-Nusra Front, which is Al-Qaeda's official affiliate in Syria, has joined the fight against ISIL in places, but Jolani said the battles were detracting from the key battle against President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

The jihadist leader said some of the blame for the clashes lay with ISIL's behaviour, but he called for a speedy end to divisions among opposition Islamist fighters.