ISIS ‘reaching out’ to Syrian rebels, urges end to infighting

Residents inspect the damage caused by suicide bombers belonging to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), whom activists said were targeting the Tawhid Brigade and Al-Fateh brigade headquarters that are under the Free Syrian Army, in Aleppo January 12, 2014. (Reuters)

The Al-Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has reached out to other rebel groups in Syria to head off infighting, in an audio message posted online Sunday.

“Today, the (Islamic) state is reaching out to you to stop fighting us, to focus on fighting the nusairiyah,” the voice in the message, purportedly that of ISIS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, said, using the term often used by jihadists when referring to the Syrian regime.

The remarks mark a shift for ISIS, which said earlier this month it would “crush” opposition fighters and considered members of the Syrian National Coalition and the military command of the Free Syrian Army to be “legitimate targets.”

Baghdadi, in the audio message posted on jihadist forums, accused the rebels groups of “betrayal.”

“Anyone who fought against us should review his stance,” he said. “You have stabbed us in the back, as all of our soldiers were on the frontline.”

He continued, referring to various parts of Syria, “We used to have an army who implemented a plan to invade Aleppo and advance to the western front, and we used to have forces in Hama and we used to have forces in Idlib.

“But all of this has stopped in one night because of the betrayal.”

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:41 - GMT 06:41