DAMASCUS, Sept. 25 (Xinhua) -- Thirteen Syrian Islamist rebel factions, including al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front, said in a statement Wednesday that they reject the leadership of exiled Syrian National Coalition (SNC), calling instead on all the opposition forces to unite under an Islamic umbrella.
The signatories of the statement said they reject the leader of the SNC, the main Western-backed opposition umbrella in exile, and the interim opposition government, whose prime minister, Ahmad Toumeh, was elected last week in Turkey's Istanbul.
"These forces (statement signatories) reject the formation of any entity in exile without reference to the forces inside Syria and thus the Syrian National Coalition and the so-called interim government don't represent us and we don't recognize them," a rebel commander said while reading out the statement in an online video footage aired Wednesday on several Arab TVs.
Meanwhile, the Islamist groups called on "all military groups and civilians to unite under an Islamic umbrella that design its rule on the bases of the Islamic Sharia."
The new declaration came at a time the exiled opposition was bracing itself for possible negotiations with the Syrian government in Geneva. It also came in light of new fighting between radical and moderate rebels in several Syrian cities, such as Deir al-Zour, al-Raqqa, Aleppo and Idlib in northern Syria.
Fights have lately erupted between the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and al-Qaeda-affiliated the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant ( ISIL), which aims to establish a Sunni state in Syria and Iraq. The ISIL combines more than 100,000 fighters globally, according to recent estimates.
The ISIL has presumably joined the FSA to help topple the Syrian regime. However, its real intentions have been disclosed over time and it overtly declared that it wants to establish an Islamic state, a step that is widely rejected by most Syrians in favor of a moderate state.
The fighting is expected to take a further dangerous curve between the two groups, especially following the death of Abu Abdullah al-Libi, the ISIL Emir, who was shot in Bab al-Hawa in northern Syria during clashes with the FSA's fighters.