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Syria jihadists eye post-Assad Islamic rule

Published on Dec 29, 2012 5:57 AM
A fighter from Islamist Syrian rebel group Jabhat al-Nusra walks between damaged houses in Aleppo on Dec 24, 2012. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIRUT (AFP) - Jihadist rule must spread over Syria after the ouster of Bashar al-Assad, the head of the hardline rebel Al-Nusra Front said on Friday, accusing Washington of seeking to keep the president in power.

Al-Nusra, blacklisted by Washington as a terror outfit, has claimed responsibility for the majority of deadly suicide bombings in Syria's 21-month conflict.

Its fighters, many of whom are foreigners, have also played a major part in battlefield gains made by the rebels in the northwest in recent months.

In an audio tape posted online on Friday the head of the group, Abu Mohammed Al-Jawlani, said clearly - and repeatedly - that Islamists must rule in post-Assad Syria.

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