The leader of the Nusra Front, Al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria, has criticised local ceasefires between opposition forces and regime troops as well as a meeting of opposition representatives in Riyadh earlier this week as a “conspiracy.”
Speaking to Orient News TV, Abu Mohamad al Golani said that truces between the opposition and the regime "are the first step to surrender and take place only in the interests of the regime," referring to a recent ceasefire agreed in the Waer district of Homs.
Where and when the interview was conducted was not clear, and the elusive commander’s face was obscured.
Calling the meeting of 100 representatives from various opposition groups in the Saudi capital of Riyadh this week a “conspiracy,” Golani continued saying, "Whoever went to the conference does not have the ability to implement things on the ground."
Golani’s Nusra Front was not invited to the meeting. The DAESH terrorist group and the PYD, which is affiliated to the PKK terrorist group based in southeastern Turkey, were also omitted from the invitations.
"[Saudi Arabia] wants to keep Bashar al Assad and to incorporate the armed opposition into the regime forces and then wants this merged group to fight Nusra Front and [DAESH] and then seeks to impose a truce on the Syrian people," Golani claimed.
"(The conference) was not in the interests of the people of Syria, which is unacceptable," he said, adding that the conference was a “big betrayal” of “young people who sacrificed their blood and everyone who sacrificed their blood for the establishment of Islamic rule.”
"This is a conspiracy of many factions and we must work to thwart such plots."
The Nusra Front commander also avoided answering a question on his group’s ties with Al Qaeda directly, but instead said that the Nusra Front will not give up its principles whether they are “Al Qaeda-linked or not Al Qaeda linked."
He similarly dodged the question when asked by Al Jazeera in May, merely saying “The issue is not about leaving Al-Qaeda. It is about who rises up against hegemony,” while vowing to defeat the regime and capture Damascus.