Isis vs AQ
Isis jihadists executed a purported al-Qaeda commander in SyriaIslamic State propaganda image

The Islamic State (Isis) has executed an al-Qaeda commander in Syria as an uneasy truce threatens to lead to all-out conflict between the militant groups. Isis killed a suspected al-Qaeda commander after claiming he had planned to be behind several assassination plots against Isis chiefs.

The once fierce al-Qaeda has been drained of recruits and money, territory and prestige by Daesh with 63-year-old leader Ayman al-Zawahiri cut off from commanders fighting in Syria. Jihadists have been lured away with promises of better weaponry and more glory.

Al-Qaeda, once led by Osama Bin Laden, had cut ties with Isis in late 2013 after a power struggle with chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, although ideologically similar power struggles between the two groups have now resulted in executions.

A senior commander said to be named Abu Mujahid al-Baqai, was accused of organising attempted assassinations on Isis members in Yarmouk, Syria. He fought with the al-Qaeda affiliate, Jabhat al-Nusra, and was videoed being executed with a gunshot to the back of his head and released in a trademark Isis report after being captured in Damascus province.

The video released by the jihadists also featured the execution of a Syrian Army soldier captured after the recent battle for the ancient city of Palmyra.

The power struggle began when al-Baghdadi reportedly disobeyed orders from network leader al-Zawahri not to operate independently from al-Nusra in Syria. Baghdadi reportedly dismissed the orders and attempted to merge the two branches – essentially making al-Baghdadi the leader of both.

Isis vs AQ 1
The al-Qaeda fighter had been planning to assassinate Isis leaders in YarmoukIslamic State propaganda image

The two factions emerged as the largest Islamist militant groups as the Syrian Civil War descended into nationwide chaos. Over time, Isis eclipsed al-Nusra in many areas in the north and the west of the country.

Isis has now developed a global network of affiliates, most notably in Libya, in Nigeria with Boko Haram and the Philippines with Abu Sayyaf. IS Leaders call al-Qaeda a "drowned enemy" in issue six of their official English-language magazine, Dabiq and added that they will put up with no rival in their territories.

Isis also has a presence in Afghanistan, once home to thousands of al-Qaeda fighters but has struggled to win support in the country with the Taliban condemning the foreigners for their brutality.

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