BEIRUT – An Al-Nusra Front spokesperson refuted claims that the Islamist organization’s chief ordered the end of clashes pitting rebels against fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) and said it would be difficult to end the fighting.
“Al-Nusra Front chief Abu Mohammad al-Jawlani did not order the ending of battles against ISIS,” the Al-Qaeda affiliated organization’s spokesperson, dubbed Abu Maya, told NOW on Tuesday.
He explained that Jawlani “proposed a political initiative that consists of forming a religious committee that regroups everyone.”
Abu Maya went on to cast doubt on the possibility of putting an end to the clashes, and described it as “difficult to carry out.”
“It is not solely up to the Al-Nusra Front. The Islamic Front or even ISIS [itself] might not agree to the initiative.”
Jawlani in an audio recording circulated earlier in the day proposed an initiative to end internecine fighting between anti-regime groups.
“The sorrowful situation has pushed us to take a political initiative to save [Syria] from perdition,” Jawlani said in an audio message posted Tuesday on YouTube.
“It consists of forming a religious committee regrouping all [concerned] factions… and ceasing fire… [Also,] detainees will be exchanged between all [involved] parties… and roads will be opened for everyone.”
“This initiative has been accepted by some parties. Certain [groups] said their approval [depends on] that of others, while some stalled in giving a response [to the proposal],” the head of the Al-Nusra Front added.
“This initiative will not harm any party at the expense of another.”
Rebel groups coalescing under the banner of the Army of the Mujahideen last week began fighting Al-Qaeda-linked ISIS fighters in Idlib and Aleppo.
The fighting has since spread to Raqa, where ISIS fighters have been besieged by rebels.
The campaign began as civilian protesters took to the streets on Friday to condemn ISIS’ torturing and killing of Hussein al-Sleiman, an Aleppo-area doctor also known as Abu Rayan.