Syrian extremists renew al-Qaeda pledge

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Syria’s rebel al-Nusra Front has formally pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-­Zawahri – but appeared to distance itself from a recently announced merger with al-Qaeda’s Iraq branch under the banner Islamic State of Iraq and Levant.

In an audio tape posted online yesterday, Abu Mohammad al-Golani, leader of the Syrian group, said: “The sons of Nusra Front renew their pledge to the Sheikh of Jihad Ayman al-Zawahri and declare obedience.”

The message came a day after the leader of Islamic State of Iraq said the two would join forces.