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Kurds Fear Aleppo Turning Into Al-Qaeda Center

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Syrian Democratic Council Co-President Elham Ahmed said that Syrian Kurds are worried that al-Qaeda is transforming parts of northern Aleppo into a center of operations.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Syrian Kurds are worried that al-Qaeda is transforming parts of northern Aleppo into a center of operations amid reports that the terrorist group wants to create a headquarters there, Syrian Democratic Council Co-President Elham Ahmed told Sputnik.

"Azaz in Aleppo…. is becoming an al-Qaeda center," Ahmed said on Tuesday. "We [Syrian Kurds] are concerned about that."

The New York Times reported earlier this week, citing US and European intelligence officials, that al-Qaeda has relocated a number of seasoned veterans from Pakistan to Syria where it plans to establish an alternate headquarters.

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The terrorist organization, Ahmed noted, has actually had a presence on the ground in Syria since the uprising against the government erupted in 2011.

On Monday, US Department of State spokesperson John Kirby said the United States is taking reports about al-Qaeda setting up a headquarters in Syria seriously.

Kirby noted, however, that al-Qaeda has had a de facto presence in Syria through its offshoot group — al-Nusra Front.

Syria has been mired in civil war since 2011, with government forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad fighting numerous opposition factions and extremist groups, such as al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State (ISIL, or Daesh), which is outlawed in Russia and numerous other countries.

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