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Syrian rebels reject ISIL caliphate

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Syrian rebels reject ISIL caliphate


Syrian rebels have joined the international community and rejected the announcement by Islamist militants ISIL (also known as ISIS) establishing a
caliphate in the region, saying it is ‘null and void’.

In a recording released on Sunday the group now known as Islamic State called on all Muslims to pledge allegiance to their chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

The al-Qaeda offshoot controls a zone stretching from Raqqa in Syria to the gates of Baghdad, which they promise to extend from the Mediterranean to Iran.

Experts are warning that the announcement opens the door for further violence in the region.

“Through the announcement made by the ISIL spokesperson, this gave justification to their soldiers and fighters to kill those who oppose them and do not pledge allegiance to Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi, the Caliph,” said Marwan Shehadeh a political analyst from Jordan.

In Baghdad, the news was greeted with anger.

‘‘We reject the establishment of an Islamic state led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, as it supports terrorism. It is not an Islamic state, it is a terrorist state,” said one Baghdad resident.

As the battle to take back Tikrit from the hands of the insurgents continues, Iraqi forces are shoring up defences in and around the capital.

The US has bolstered its presence sending around 300 more troops to the country.

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