November 18, 2014
By Brent Eng and Osama Abu Zeid
AMMAN: The Islamic State appears to have rejected a call for peace with Jabhat a-Nusra and the Islamic Front in northern Syria, said Salah a-din a-Shishani, the head of rebel group Jaish al-Muhajerin, in a video statement circulating on social media.
The video confirms that the Islamic State rejected reconciliation with Nusra, a claim that a Nusra spokesman told Syria Direct in an interview published Monday.
“We sent a committee, headed by Sheikh Salah a-Din a Shishani in order to bring about a reconciliation,” Abu Azzam al-Ansari, a member of Nusra’s media office in Idlib, told Syria Direct.
“The committee was met with refusal by the [Islamic] State group.”
Salah a-Din a-Shishani discusses his meeting with the Islamic State in A-Raqqa.
Western media outlets have reported on a possible merger between IS and Jabhat a-Nusra, citing a number of unnamed rebel sources saying that a meeting took place in Raqqa earlier this month between the two militant groups.
In the video, a-Shishani confirms that a meeting to took place in Raqqa but says that IS rejected the offer.
“We went [to Raqqa] and the Islamic State refused [the ceasefire] saying that [Jabhat a-Nusra and the Islamic Front] are apostates and there is no agreement with the apostates.”
“The rift between Jabhat a-Nusra and IS is too great heal at this point,” said Britain-based analyst Aymenn Al-Tamimi on the influential blog Syria Comment.
Jabhat a-Nusra had sought the ceasefire in order to turn its attention to fighting the Assad regime, said al-Ansari.
“[We sought] a ceasefire…in order to busy ourselves with just the Alawites.”