Abu Mohamad al-Golani, inset, and al Nusra fighters in the background. File photo
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ALEPPO – Leader of al-Qaeda’s Syria wing said that truces between the Syrian regime and rebels only benefit pro-Assad forces, criticizing a recent ceasefire deal in Homs that led rebel factions to evacuate their positions in the city.
“Truces are the first step to surrender and take place only in the interests of the regime,” said Abu Mohamad al-Golani, leader of al-Qaeda’s Syria wing Nusra Front.
In a recorded statement released on Saturday, al-Golani also criticized the recent opposition meeting in Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh, describing the conference as “conspiracy”.
“Whoever went to the conference does not have the ability to implement things on the ground,” Nusra leader said, adding that Riyadh conference sought to keep the Syrian president Bashar al-Assad in power.
“It wants to keep Bashar al-Assad and to incorporate the armed opposition into the regime forces and then wants this merged group to fight Nusra Front and Islamic State and then seeks to impose a truce on the Syrian people.”
Delegations from the various Syrian political and armed opposition factions participated in the Riyadh conference in a bid to unify ranks in the war on Assad. Islamist groups were invited as well to the conference, but Nusra Front was excluded.
“(The conference) was not in the interests of the people of Syria, which is unacceptable,” al-Golani said.
“It is a big betrayal of these young people who sacrificed their blood and everyone who sacrificed their blood for the establishment of Islamic rule … this is a conspiracy of many factions and we must work to thwart such plots.”
Reporting by: Helin Saeed