Molhem Barakat / Reuters, file
Refugees carry their belongings as they cross from into
Turkey near the town of Azaz in Syria.
"These refugees are leaving the country because of Al-Qaeda according new reports.
Raffaello Pantucci, a senior research fellow with Britain’s Royal United Services Institute, said the group - which began as an evolution of al Qaeda in Iraq - was seeking a long-term foothold in the country.
“Their final goal is to create an Islamic Emirate which becomes a piece of territory which they control. And from there they will start to export jihad everywhere else,” Pantucci said.
He added they were prepared to achieve this at the expense of other Islamic groups including Jabhat al Nusra, a Syrian group with similar aims and which also has ties to al Qaeda."
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