With the ongoing “war within a war” infighting between al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) and other Syrian rebel factions spanning four provinces and largely eclipsing the nation’s civil war itself, AQI is issuing a call for rapprochement among rebel factions.
The fighting began weeks ago, when the Islamic Front and Free Syrian Army (FSA) launched strikes against AQI’s outlying territories in Idlib, seizing several of their less well-guarded possessions. Since then the fighting has spanned the whole rebel region, killing many hundreds of fighters.
The AQI statement, issued as an audio recording from Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, urged other rebels to join hands and focus on fighting the Assad government, saying it was vital to “refrain from attacking each other.”
AQI had recently been on the counter-offensive against the other rebels, retaking much of their lost territory and executing large numbers of rivals. The group seems to be hoping they can get some sort of arrangement going now before the momentum turns against them again.