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Syria's radical jihadist group pledges allegiance to al-Qaida

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Syria's radical jihadist group al-Nusra Front on Wednesday pledged allegiance to al-Qaida, the pan-Arab al-Mayadeen TV reported.

The pledge was made by leader of al-Nusra Front, Abu Mohammed al-Jawalani, in an audio message, a day after al-Qaida in Iraq said the rebel group in Syria is part of its "Islamic state."

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of al-Qaida branch in Iraq, said Tuesday "It is time to declare to the Levant and the whole world that al-Nusra Front is not but an extension for the Islamic state of Iraq and part of it."

"We declare the cancelation of the name of Islamic State of Iraq, and the cancelation of the name of al-Nusra Front and combine them under (a) single name which is the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant," al-Baghdadi said in a message posted on the Internet, adding that the leader of the Syrian part of the self- styled state will be a Syrian.

The announcement was made a couple of days after al-Qaida's central leader Ayman al-Zawahiri urged the unification of the jihad in Syria.

Al-Jawalani said Wednesday his group had not been consulted on the merger with al-Qaida beforehand. But he appeared to have formally accept it considering his vow of allegiance to the universal terror group.

However, the Syrian opposition at home dismissed the mergence declaration.

Head of the National Coordination Body, Hasan Abdul-Azim, told Xinhua that such move will not succeed due to the lack of supportive climate in Syria.

"It will not succeed ... they will not find a supportive environment in Syria and will eventually have to pull out," he said.

"That is their dream to establish an Islamic emirate ... Syrian people want to liberate from tyranny and corruption and want to choose their own leadership, but al-Qaida's declaration contradicts the dreams of the Syrian people," said Abdul-Azim.

Al-Nusra Front has claimed responsibility for most of the fatal bombings targeting civilians and government institutions across Syria after the outbreak of the country's political conflict in early 2011. Damascus has repeatedly warned of the growing threat of such groups to not only Syria, but the entire region as well.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/asianet/130411/syrias-radical-jihadist-group-pledges-allegiance-al-qaida