Liwa a-Tawheed chief: ISIS actions ‘have no relationship with Islam’
February 3, 2014
REJECTING ISIS:Speaking from a nondescript room in an undisclosed location in Aleppo, Liwa a-Tawheed chief Abd al-Aziz Salama and spokesman Abu Firas announced their group’s opposition to the Islamic State of Iraq and a-Sham (ISIS). “Their actions have no relationship with Islam,” said Salama, referring to the group as the “Baghdadi State” rather than the “Islamic State,” an allusion to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Salama insisted that all of ISIS’ operations “serve the interests of the regime,” adding that the “foreign fighters” who came to Syria to wage jihad are welcome, but not if they seek to implement their own state.
The statement from Liwa a-Tawheed—one of Syria’s most powerful rebel militias, and one of seven mostly hardline Islamist groups comprising the Islamic Front—follows a month of clashes between ISIS and other armed formations in northern Syria. It came the same day as ISIS’ successful assassination of the leader of Suqour a-Sham, another Islamic Front member militia.
ISIS has 6,000 fighters, Salama said, “and they want to establish a government.” That is not what Liwa is fighting for, Salama said, adding “we don’t want emirs.”
Salama, who is also a member of the Islamic Front’s Shura Council, went on to condemn ISIS’ car bombings against checkpoints held by rebel groups in Syria’s north, declaring that ISIS had “sent more than 45 car bombs to mujahideen checkpoints.”
The statement also touched on the increasing frequency with which journalists have been kidnapped in rebel-held territories. “We no longer have journalists as a result of the systematic kidnappings carried out by Baghdadi’s group in liberated areas.”
The recording concluded with Salama’s suggestion that a major new rebel formation would shortly be announced in Syria.