Feb. 3 - In an attempt to reassert its authority over fragmented Islamist rebels in Syria's civil war, Al Qaeda says it has no link with the small but powerful rebel group ISIL. Mana Rabiee reports.
These are thought to be rebel fighters in Syria. They're with a group called the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant - or ISIL -- and they're said to be affiliated with Al Qaeda. But on Monday, Al Qaeda's general command issued a statement across jihadist websites distancing itself from ISIL, saying there's no link between the two. Al Qaeda 'doesn't have a relationship with it' the statement read, 'and isn't responsible for their actions.' Small but powerful, ISIL has been battling other Islamist insurgents in Syria -- largely over territory -- and has become increasingly independent. Monday's announcement may be an attempt by Al Qaeda to reassert its authority over fragmented Islamist fighters in Syria's civil war. It could also mean Al Qaeda wants to redirect its efforts towards unseating President Bashar al Assad, instead of wasting resources fighting other rebels. This 'rebel-on-rebel' fighting has killed nearly 2,000 people this year and undermined the uprising against Assad.