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Syria: FSA says they are at war with Al-Qaeda - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Syrian rebels head to the town of Bsankol in the northwestern province of Idlib to join comrades fighting regime forces for the control of the highway that connects Idlib with Latakia on July 11, 2013. (AFP PHOTO/DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS.)

Syrian rebels head to the town of Bsankol in the northwestern province of Idlib to join comrades fighting regime forces for the control of the highway that connects Idlib with Latakia on July 11, 2013. (AFP PHOTO/DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS)

Beirut, Asharq Al-Awsat—The opposition Free Syrian Army (FSA) has announced that the killing of senior commander Kamal Hamami by the Al-Qaeda affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) is a declaration of war.

Infighting among Syrian rebel forces appears to be on the rise following ISIL’s targeting of Hamami, a member of the FSA’s Supreme Military Council, earlier this week.

FSA spokesman Qassim Saad Eddin confirmed to Asharq Al-Awsat that “Takfirist elements affiliated with ISIL killed a member of the FSA military council, Kamal Hamami,” adding, “such violations will bring us into unwanted confrontations.”

“The FSA will be able to emerge from this confrontation victorious, given that ISIL has far less numbers than the umbrella opposition military force,” Saad Eddin added.

Saad Eddin stressed that “we are pursuing a common objective, toppling the regime,” accusing “some elements that have infiltrated ISIL and some FSA battalions” of sowing discord among the rebels.

Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat on the condition of anonymity, sources close to Hamami claimed that that ISIL commander Abu Ayman Al-Baghdadi had directly ordered the FSA commander’s death.

The incident took place in Nabe’ Al-Mur, a village in the coastal province of Lattakia. FSA commander Kamal Hamami was reportedly heading to a meeting with members of the rival to discuss battle plans when he was accused of apostasy and shot in the belly.

Before his death, Hamami commanded the FSA-affiliated Al-Ez bin Abdul Salam battalion and was considered to be among the top 30 opposition military commanders on the ground in Syria.

It was reported yesterday that several senior FSA commanders considered this act as a “declaration of war.”

An anonymous Syrian activist told Asharq Al-Awsat that “the Al-Nusra Front and the ISIL impose a heavy burden on the Syrian revolution.”

ISIL, along with the Al-Nusra Front, are thought to be among the most active Al-Qaeda-linked jihadist groups in Syria, raising fears over the growing influence of Al-Qaeda on the Syrian conflict.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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