Al-Jazeera airs Al-Qaeda announcement ordering ISIS dissolution


BEIRUT - Al-Jazeera television on Friday afternoon broadcast an audio recording of Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri's May 23 letter announcing the dissolution of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). 


“The Islamic State of the Iraq and al-Sham will be dismantled, but [its] work will continue under the banner of the Islamic State of Iraq,” Zawahiri said in the recording.


Zawahiri added that Al-Nusra would serve as Al-Qaeda’s “independent” branch in Syria, but called on both ISIS and Al-Nusra to provide each other with weapons and militants when required and refrain from hostilities between each other.


The audio recording of Zawahiri's May letter addressed both the Islamist militant commanders, saying that Baghdadi “committed a mistake” by announcing the group’s formation without prior consultation, but added that Jowlani also erred by rejecting ISIS without coordinating with Al-Qaeda. 


ISIS and the Al-Nusra Front—the two main Al-Qaeda linked factions fighting in Syria—have been at odds with each other since ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi announced the group’s formation in April 2013 and included Al-Nusra Front within its ranks.


Al-Nusra Front leader Abu Mohammad al-Jowlani shortly afterward rejected Baghdadi’s announcement and swore fealty only to Zawahiri, prompting the Al-Qaeda chief to dispatch his letter rebuking Baghdadi and saying ISIS was dissolved.


However, Baghdadi rejected Zawahiri’s letter and released an audio recording saying that ISIS’ work would continue.


The dispute between the two has since degenerated into armed clashes between the groups in rebel-controlled areas of Syria

Al-Jazeera's broadcast of Ayman al-Zawahiri's announcement.

The Islamic State of the Iraq and as-Sham will be dismantled.