IS, Al-Qaida Reportedly Reach Accord in Syria

ISTANBUL (AP) -

Terrorist leaders from the Islamic State group and al-Qaida gathered at a farmhouse in northern Syria last week and agreed on a plan to stop fighting each other and work together against their opponents, a high-level Syrian opposition official and a rebel commander have told The Associated Press.

Such an accord could present new difficulties for Washington’s strategy against the IS group.

IS  and al-Qaida’s affiliate in Syria, known as the Nusra Front, have fought each other bitterly for more than a year to dominate the rebellion against Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon warned Congress on Thursday that the long, drawn-out military campaign against Islamic State is just beginning and could expand to include modest numbers of U.S. forces fighting alongside Iraqi troops.

His testimony came as the leader of the Islamic State group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, said in an audio recording that the organization will fight to the last man. It was his first public statement since coalition forces launched airstrikes against his fighters in Iraq and Syria, in which al-Baghdadi allegedly was wounded.