The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) was recently denounced by al-Qa’ida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, despite its origins in Iraq and ties to the al-Qa’ida structure in that country.

The jihadist group carried its activities to Syria as the government lost control of vast swaths of territory, particularly in regions bordering Iraq in the eastern and north-eastern parts of the country. ISIL quickly asserted control over much of this area, not just by fighting the Syrian army, but also – more recently – Jabhat al-Nusra (the ‘official’ al-Qa’ida branch in Syria), as well as other Islamist militias operating in Syria. (CONTINUED - 1062 WORDS)