Al-Nusra leader Jolani Declare split from al- Qaeda ‘to protect the Syrian revolution’

, 2:42 PM IST

Damascus: The head of Al-Nusra Front in Syria Abu Mohammed al-Jolani said on Thursday that his jihadist group was breaking ties with Al- Qaeda and changing its name to Jabhat Fath al Sham.

Jolani said. “We declare the complete cancellation of all operations under the name of Jabhat al-Nusra, and the formation of a new group operating under the name ‘Jabhat Fath al-Sham’ noting that this new organisation has no affiliation to any external entity.”

The leader of al-Qaeda had approved the split, so the Nusra forces could concentrate on their fight against the Syrian government and other rebel groups.

Jolani said in a rare televised message, that .”By breaking our link, we aim to protect the Syrian revolution.” Adding “We thank the leaders of al-Qaeda for understanding the need to break links.”

“will have no links whatsoever with foreign parties,” said Jolani.

Jolani’s comments come several hours after the leader of al-Qaeda ,Ayman al-Zawahiri had approved the split, with its Syrian affiliate in an audio recording released on YouTube.

A six-and-a-half-minute audio message attributed to Zawahiri, he said that Nusra should split from al-Qaeda if the decision improved the unity of groups fighting a common enemy in Syria.

Zawahiri is heard saying.”The brotherhood of Islam that bonds us is stronger than any obsolete links between organisations,” he added.”These organisational links must be sacrificed without hesitation if they threaten your unity.”