Syria

Syrian Rebel Groups Team Up to Counter Al Qaeda Influence

Six groups with 45,000 members altogether

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A number of powerful Syrian rebel groups have joined forces in a bid to bring order and unity the various factions fighting to remove President Bashar al-Assad from power and counter the rise of al-Qa'ida in the country.

Six major Islamist rebel groups with an estimated 45,000 fighters under their control have signed up to the "Islamic Front", making it the largest rebel alliance to emerge in the two and a half years-long civil war. 

"The Islamic Front is an independent military and social force that is aimed at bringing down Assad's regime in Syria and at replacing it with a just Islamic state," the groups said in a statement, published on Friday.

The new coalition includes Liwa al-Tawhid—Aleppo's largest fighting group, Ahrar al-Sham, the Army of Islam, Suqour al-Sham, Liwa al-Haq and the Ansar al-Sham battalions.