Al-Qaeda Iraq arm leader rejects order to scrap Syria merger

Al-Qaeda Iraq arm leader rejects order to scrap Syria merger

PanARMENIAN.Net - The leader of al-Qaeda's Iraq arm defiantly rejected an order from the terror network's global command to scrap a merger with the organization's Syria affiliate, according to a message purporting to be from him that was posted online Saturday, June 15, The Associated Press reported.

The latest statement by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who heads the Islamic State of Iraq, reveals a growing rift within the terror network and highlights the Iraqi wing's determination to link its own fight against the Shiite-led government in Baghdad with the cause of rebels trying to topple the Syrian regime.

In an audio message posted online, a speaker identified as al-Baghdadi insists that a merger he announced in April with Syria's Jabhat al-Nusra rebel group to create a cross-border movement known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant will continue.

"The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant will continue as long as we live. We will not give up and we will not compromise over this," he said.

Al-Nusra is Syria's most powerful rebel extremist group, and its head has rejected the takeover attempt.

The Qatar-based Al-Jazeera TV reported late Sunday that al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri had issued a letter trying to end the squabbling and ordering the two groups to stay separate.

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