Islamist Rebels Denounce Western-Backed Syrian Opposition

World | September 25, 2013, Wednesday // 17:50

Powerful Islamist rebel groups in Syria have announced they do not recognise the authority of the main opposition alliance, the National Coalition.

A joint statement of at least 13 Islamist fractions says: "All groups formed abroad without having returned to the country do not represent us."

"Therefore the National Coalition and its transitional government led by Ahmad Tumeh do not represent it and will not be recognized."

The statement also calls for the opposition to unite under an "Islamic framework".

The statement has been endorsed by the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front and the powerful Islamist battalions Ahrar Asham and the Tawheed Brigade.

It comes amid fighting on the ground between the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), an offshoot of al-Qaeda, and more moderate rebel forces, especially in areas along Syria's northern and eastern borders.

The Istanbul-based Western-backed National Coalition was formed in November 2012 and is recognised by more than 100 countries as a legitimate representative of the Syrian opposition.

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Tags: Syria, rebels, opposition, National Coalition, Islamist
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