Al-Qaeda Disavows ISIL in Syria
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Al-Qaeda disavowed the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), whose members have been locked in deadly clashes with Syrian rebels, according to a statement posted on jihadist websites.
Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri had already ordered the group in May 2013 to disband and return to Iraq, and announced that another jihadist group, the Al-Nusra Front, was Al-Qaeda's official branch in war-torn Syria.
The general command of Al-Qaeda rammed home the point in its late Sunday statement, AFP reported.
"Al-Qaeda announces it is not linked to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, as it was not informed of its creation... (and) did not accept it," the statement said.
ISIL "is not a branch of Al-Qaeda, has no links to it, and the (Al-Qaeda) group is not responsible for its acts," it added.
Jihadists were initially welcomed by some rebels in Syria's conflict, but allegations of brutal abuses against civilians as well as rival opposition fighters has sparked a backlash.
Rebels have accused ISIL of seeking to consolidate power rather than fighting the government.