Qaeda wing pledges allegiance to ISIL in border town
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[June 25, 2014]
BEIRUT (Reuters) - Syria's al Qaeda
wing has pledged allegiance to rival group the Islamic State in Iraq and
the Levant (ISIL) in a Syrian border town, a monitoring group said,
strengthening ISIL's control of both sides of the Syria-Iraq frontier.
Fighters from Nusra Front, the Syrian wing of al Qaeda, took an
oath of loyalty to ISIL in the town of Albu Kamal, close to the
Iraqi border, the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights
and an Islamist website said on Wednesday.
The central leadership of al Qaeda has disowned ISIL and proclaimed
the Nusra Front as its official Syrian affiliate.
ISIL, which seized Iraq's main northern city Mosul on June 10, has
since marched virtually unopposed towards Baghdad and is in control
of major border posts on the frontier with Syria.
The group also controls large parts of eastern Syria, where it has
both clashed with rival rebels groups and occasionally fought
alongside them, complicating the three-year-old insurgncy against
President Bashar al-Assad.
Twitter users posted a photo they said showed the Nusra Front leader
of Albu Kamal, Abu Yusuf al-Masri, swearing loyalty to one of ISIL's
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"It is very important because Nusra is strong in Albu Kamal," the
Observatory's Rami Abdurrahman said.
"We cannot say (ISIL) controls Albu Kamal but we can say they are
now in Albu Kamal."
(Reporting by Sylvia Westall; Editing by John Stonestreet)
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