Abu Mohammed al-Jolani speaks to Al-Jazeera, Wednesday, May 27, 2015. (YouTube grab)
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Al-Qaeda's Syria franchise is striving to reinvent itself as a legitimate opposition force more acceptable to the West, but it is unlikely to succeed, analysts said Thursday.In a rare television interview, Nusra Front chief Abu Mohammad al-Golani vowed not to use Syria as a springboard to attack the West and said he would be willing to protect minorities.The group is seeking to transform its image in the West to one of a legitimate political opponent to Syrian President Bashar Assad, analysts said, and Golani's interview was the first step.His face covered in a black shawl, Golani accused Washington of coordinating with the Syrian government over airstrikes on jihadi-controlled territory. But he said Nusra had been instructed to focus on toppling Assad, not attacking the West.The jihadi leader attempted to walk a fine line between mollifying other Islamist leaders in Syria and positioning his group as a more moderate choice than ISIS.
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