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AP sources: Islamic State, al-Qaida branch agree to stop fighting and work together in Syria

  • FILE - In this undated file image posted on Monday, June 30, 2014, by the Raqqa Media Center of the Islamic State group, a Syrian opposition group, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, fighters from the al-Qaida-linked Islamic State group parade in Raqqa, Syria. In the early dawn of Nov. 2, militant leaders with the Islamic State group and al-Qaida gathered at a farm house in northern Syria and sealed a deal to stop fighting each other and work together against their opponents, a prominent Syrian opposition official and a rebel commander said. Such an alliance could be a significant blow to struggling U.S-backed Syrian rebels. (AP Photo/Raqqa Media Center of the Islamic State group, File)

    FILE - In this undated file image posted on Monday, June 30, 2014, by the Raqqa Media Center of the Islamic State group, a Syrian opposition group, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, fighters from the al-Qaida-linked Islamic State group parade in Raqqa, Syria. In the early dawn of Nov. 2, militant leaders with the Islamic State group and al-Qaida gathered at a farm house in northern Syria and sealed a deal to stop fighting each other and work together against their opponents, a prominent Syrian opposition official and a rebel commander said. Such an alliance could be a significant blow to struggling U.S-backed Syrian rebels. (AP Photo/Raqqa Media Center of the Islamic State group, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Friday, Jan. 11, 2013 file citizen journalism image provided by Edlib News Network, ENN, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, rebels from al-Qaida-affiliated Jabhat al-Nusra, also known as the Nusra Front, wave their brigade flag, as they step on the top of a Syrian air force helicopter at Taftanaz air base that was captured by the rebels in Idlib province, northern Syria. In the early dawn of Nov. 2, militant leaders with the Islamic State group and al-Qaida gathered at a farm house in northern Syria and sealed a deal to stop fighting each other and work together against their opponents, a prominent Syrian opposition official and a rebel commander said. Such an alliance could be a significant blow to struggling U.S-backed Syrian rebels. (AP Photo/Edlib News Network ENN, File)

    FILE - In this Friday, Jan. 11, 2013 file citizen journalism image provided by Edlib News Network, ENN, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, rebels from al-Qaida-affiliated Jabhat al-Nusra, also known as the Nusra Front, wave their brigade flag, as they step on the top of a Syrian air force helicopter at Taftanaz air base that was captured by the rebels in Idlib province, northern Syria. In the early dawn of Nov. 2, militant leaders with the Islamic State group and al-Qaida gathered at a farm house in northern Syria and sealed a deal to stop fighting each other and work together against their opponents, a prominent Syrian opposition official and a rebel commander said. Such an alliance could be a significant blow to struggling U.S-backed Syrian rebels. (AP Photo/Edlib News Network ENN, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Friday, Jan. 11, 2013 file photo, citizen journalism image provided by an anti-Bashar Assad activist group Edlib News Network (ENN), which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, rebels from al-Qaida-affiliated Jabhat al-Nusra, also known as the Nusra Front, sit on a truck full of ammunition at Taftanaz air base, that was captured by the rebels in Idlib province, northern Syria. In the early dawn of Nov. 2, militant leaders with the Islamic State group and al-Qaida gathered at a farm house in northern Syria and sealed a deal to stop fighting each other and work together against their opponents, a prominent Syrian opposition official and a rebel commander said. Such an alliance could be a significant blow to struggling U.S-backed Syrian rebels. (AP Photo/Edlib News Network ENN, File)

    FILE - In this Friday, Jan. 11, 2013 file photo, citizen journalism image provided by an anti-Bashar Assad activist group Edlib News Network (ENN), which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, rebels from al-Qaida-affiliated Jabhat al-Nusra, also known as the Nusra Front, sit on a truck full of ammunition at Taftanaz air base, that was captured by the rebels in Idlib province, northern Syria. In the early dawn of Nov. 2, militant leaders with the Islamic State group and al-Qaida gathered at a farm house in northern Syria and sealed a deal to stop fighting each other and work together against their opponents, a prominent Syrian opposition official and a rebel commander said. Such an alliance could be a significant blow to struggling U.S-backed Syrian rebels. (AP Photo/Edlib News Network ENN, File)  (The Associated Press)

Two Syrian opposition figures say the Islamic State group and al-Qaida's branch met last week and agreed to stop fighting each other and work together against their opponents.

The deal could be a heavy blow to Washington's strategy against the Islamic State group, relying on arming moderate rebel factions to push back extremists in Syria.

A prominent Syrian opposition official and a rebel commander say delegates from the two groups met in secret on Nov. 2 in northern Syria and agreed to end months of fighting between them and cooperate on the ground. The two spoke on condition their names not be used for their own protection or because they were not authorized to release the information.

The accord stops short of a merger between the two.