Syria Nusra Front leader: No more ties with al-Qaida

Associated Press

Beirut — The leader of Syria’s Nusra Front says his group is changing name, and claims it will have no more ties with al-Qaida.

In a video aired on the Syrian opposition station Orient TV and Al-Jazeera Thursday, Mohammed al-Golani said the delinking from the terror network aimed to remove “pretexts” by the U.S. and Russia to strike rebel groups while saying they are targeting Nusra.

Nusra has been al-Qaida branch in Syria and one of the most powerful armed groups fighting the government.

Al-Golani said his group will be renamed the Levant Conquest Front and will “have no relation to outside groups.” The video was the Syrian militant’s first appearance showing his face.