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That predecessor group was known as the Islamic State of Iraq, and was formed in October 2006, when the group known as Al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia merged with various Iraqi Islamist groups.The group dispatched members from Iraq to Syria to help found the Nusra Front, and in April 2013, the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq announced the groups would merge to form ISIS.But the Nusra Front's leader rejected the merger, as did Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri, who designated Nusra to be Al-Qaeda's official Syria affiliate and ordered the Islamic State of Iraq to return across the border.The Arabic word for Levant, al-Sham, is also used to both refer to the city of Damascus as well as indicate Syria alone, leading some to call the group the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, and others the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria, or ISIS.
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