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Published: Thursday December 19, 2013 MYT 4:40:03 AM
Updated: Thursday December 19, 2013 MYT 4:41:06 AM

Head of Qaeda's Syria branch says does not seek rule in first TV appearance

BEIRUT (Reuters) - The leader of Syria's al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front said in his first televised interview that his group was not seeking to rule Syria, but future rule must be based on Islamic law.

"The Nusra Front does not seek to rule society on its own when we reach the stage of the liberation of Sham (Syria)," Abu Mohammed al-Golani told the pan-Arab news channel Al Jazeera in the interview, part of which was aired on Wednesday evening. "At that point a legal council of academics and thinkers will meet ... and put in place an appropriate plan for running the country, which of course will be based on Islamic law."

Golani, who has never before appeared on television, was filmed from behind, his face wrapped in a black scarf, with only his hands visible. The Nusra Front pledged loyalty to al Qaeda, which has in turn embraced the group as its franchise in Syria.

(Reporting by Erika Solomon)

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