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  • 2 May 2014, 16:25

Al Qaeda Boss Orders End To Jihadist Infighting

Al Qaeda's chief has called on members of the group's Syrian affiliate, the al Nusra Front, to stop fighting with their jihadist rivals.

In an audiotape posted online, Ayman al Zawahiri ordered "all soldiers of the front immediately cease fighting" one another.

And al Nusra's leader Abu Mohammed al Jolani was told to "devote himself to combat the enemies of Islam, specifically Baathists, Shiites and their allies".

The Baath is Syria's ruling party, headed by President Bashar al Assad.

Al Nusra has been locked in fierce fighting with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) since the start of the year.

ISIL - a rebranding of al Qaeda in Iraq - has recently been accused of atrocities against rival opposition fighters.

Its leader, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, has previously been warned by al Zawahiri to restrict its activities to Iraq.

That order was repeated by al Zawahiri in Friday's message, with the ISIL chief being told to "devote himself to wounded Iraq, which needs you to redouble your efforts".

He said ISIL's presence had hindered the fighting against forces loyal to the Syrian president because it had created divisions which had proved to be "a gift to Assad".

Al Qaeda, which is intolerant of non-Sunni branches of Islam and regards liberal Muslims and other sects including Shias, Sufis to be heretics, threatened in February to break links with ISIL.

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