October 1, 2013 - 15:39 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - An al-Qaeda spokesman is accusing Western-backed rebels fighting to topple the Syrian government of "stealing" credit for battlefield victories from his group, according to the Associated Press.
Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, a spokesman for the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, said commanders of the Free Syrian Army are claiming territorial gains made by al-Qaeda fighters.
In an audio message posted on a militant website on Monday, al-Adnani cites the August capture of the Mannagah air base in northern Syria as an example.
He says some FSA fighters took part in the battle for the base and an FSA commander took credit for it, but it was actually captured by al-Qaeda.
Al-Qaeda militants have in the past year emerged as some of the most organized and successful fighting forces on the opposition side in Syria.
Eleven Islamist rebel groups in Syria have recently announced they do not recognize the authority of the main opposition alliance, the National Coalition. A joint statement said: "All groups formed abroad without having returned to the country do not represent us." They also called for the opposition to unite under an "Islamic framework".
Islamist groups declared that they rejected the idea that opposition leadership could come from any organization based outside Syria that was not working closely with those on the inside.
"These forces feel that all groups formed abroad without having returned to the country do not represent them, and they will not recognize them," said the statement by Abdulaziz Salameh, the political leader of the Tawheed Brigade. "Therefore the National Coalition and its transitional government led by Ahmad Tumeh do not represent them and will not be recognized."
The Istanbul-based Western-backed National Coalition was formed in November 2012 and is recognized by more than 100 countries as a legitimate representative of the Syrian opposition.