Mohammed al Golani, the leader of the Nusra Front, now called Jabhat Fath al Sham.
Al Qaeda's powerful Syrian branch, the Nusra Front, announced on Thursday it was
ending its relationship with the global jihadist network founded by
Osama bin Laden, to remove a pretext used by world powers to attack
came as Russia and President Bashar al-Assad's government declared a
"humanitarian operation" in the besieged rebel-held sector of Aleppo,
opening "safe corridors" so people can flee Syria's most important
said that appeared to be an attempt to depopulate the city and make
fighters surrender. The opposition called it a euphemism for forced
In the first known
video statement ever to show his face, the leader of the Nusra Front,
Mohamad al-Golani, announced that the group would re-form under a new
name, with "no ties with any foreign party".
move was being made "to remove the excuse used by the international
community -- spearheaded by America and Russia -- to bombard and
displace Muslims in the Levant: that they are targeting the Nusra Front
which is associated with al Qaeda," he said. The group would now be
called Jabhat Fatah al-Sham (Front for the Liberation of al Sham/Syria).