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Syrian opposition group dismisses al-Qaida-rebel merger


08:48, April 11, 2013

DAMASCUS, April 10 (Xinhua) -- The Damascus-based oppositional National Coordination Body (NCB) on Wednesday dismissed the merger of al-Qaida's Iraqi branch and a Syrian rebel movement.

"It will not succeed ... They will not find a supportive environment in Syria and will eventually have to pull out," NCB head Hasan Abdul-Azim told Xinhua.

He was responding to Tuesday's announcement by the Islamic State in Iraq that it had joined ranks with al-Nusra Front, a jihadist group bent on toppling Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The new group is named the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant.

On Wednesday, the head of al-Nusra Front pledged allegiance to al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in an audio message.

The embattled Syrian government has been asserting that the rebels are foreign-backed terrorists.

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