The leader of Al-Qaeda's Syria branch on Wednesday declared that the group will not target the country's Alawite minority, despite their support for Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad's government.
Speaking to Al Jazeera, Al-Nusra Front leader Abu Mohammad al-Golani said, "The battle does not end in Qardaha, the Alawite village and the birthplace of the Assad clan.”
“Our war is not a matter of revenge against the Alawites despite the fact that in Islam, they are considered to be heretics, " he added.
"Our fight is strictly with those who attacked us and murdered our people,” said al-Golani.
"Our faith is based on mercy and our noble traditions. We are not murderers. We will not hurt them or target them, the Druze or anyone else," he added.
Al-Nusra Front has been an official branch of Al-Qaeda since April 2013, and dominates a swathe of northwest Syria despite months of international airstrikes.
As well as fighting President Bashar Al-Assad's regime, the group has clashed with Western-backed rebels and its jihadist rival the Islamic State (ISIS) group. Last November, Al-Nusra and ISIS agreed to work together.
Al-Nusra Front recently reaffirmed its allegiance to Al-Qaeda and denied any plan to break away and become a more internationally acceptable rebel force, amid speculations on Internet social networks of a split between the jihadist allies.