The al-Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant has reached out to other militant groups in Syria to head off infighting, in an audio message posted online Sunday.
"Today, the Islamic state is reaching out to you to stop fighting us, to focus on fighting ", the voice in the message, purportedly that of ISIL chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
The remarks mark a shift for ISIS, which said earlier this month it would "crush" opposition fighters and considered members of the opposition coalition and the military command of al-Hr militia to be "legitimate targets".
Baghdadi, in the audio message posted on jihadist forums, accused militant groups of "betrayal", noting that "anyone who fought against us should review his stance".
He stressed "you have stabbed us in the back, as all of our soldiers were on the frontline".
In his audio message, Baghdadi also issued a warning to Washington, going on to say, "beware America ... that the proxy war will not protect you in Syria, and soon you will be forced into direct confrontation", stressing that "the sons of Islam are getting themselves ready for that day".
ISIL has faced a militant backlash and has been hit by days of fighting against a coalition of moderate and Islamist militants , including with al-Nusra Front, al-Qaeda's official affiliate in Syria.
Baghdadi had sought to merge his group with al-Nusra, but they rejected the alliance and pledged allegiance directly to Al-Qaeda chief "Ayman al-Zawahiri". Since then, the two groups have functioned separately, though al-Nusra has remained largely neutral in the latest infighting, and the group's leader has called for an end to the clashes.
But ISIL spokesman "Abu Mohammed al-Adnani" sounded a defiant tone in his own audio message earlier in January, calling for ISIL forces to "crush the rebels totally and kill the conspiracy at birth".