WASHINGTON- US intelligence chief James Clapper said Friday analysts had not seen any evidence indicating Islamic State jihadists and Al-Qaeda had forged an alliance in Syria.
Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, told CBS television US experts were unaware of any pact between the two groups, which would potentially complicate the US-led military campaign in Syria.
“We don’t see that,” Clapper said.
“There have been tactical accommodations, on the battlefield, on occasion, where local groups have united in the interest of the tactical objective, but broadly, I don’t see those two uniting, at least yet.”
The Daily Beast reported earlier this week that veterans of the Al-Qaeda splinter group known as Khorasan — which has been bombed repeatedly by US warplanes — were trying to broker a deal between Islamic State fighters and members of the Al-Nusra Front, Al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate.
“Khorasan sees its role now as securing an end to the internal conflict between Islamic State and Al-Nusra,” a senior rebel source was quoted as saying.
US officials expressed skepticism about the reported alliance however.
“I find it hard to believe that Al-Nusra and Islamic State could sink their differences,” an unnamed former Obama administration official was quoted as telling the Daily Beast.
“The rift between them is very deep.”