Al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front fighters carry their weapons on the back of a pick-up truck during the release of Lebanese soldiers and policemen in Arsal, eastern Bekaa Valley, Lebanon, in this December 1, 2015 file photo. REUTERS/Stringer
Reuters: Syria's Nusra Front says ending al Qaeda ties; U.S. fears for Aleppo
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 Syrians.
The announcement 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 opposition stronghold.
Washington said that appeared to be an attempt to depopulate the city and make fighters surrender. The opposition called it a euphemism for forced displacement.
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".
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