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The number of Islamist extremists fighting for ISIS could double after al-Qaeda's 15,000 strong offshoot in Syria is said to have pledged allegiance to the militant group.
The merger is believed to have taken place in Albu Kamel - on the border of Syria and Iraq, where all of the crossings are currently in the hands of Sunni militia, many of them members of ISIS.
In April the al-Nusra Front pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, who has previously condemned ISIS' brutal attempts to establish an Islamic state in the Middle East as too extreme, so the development points to a new split within al-Qaeda's ranks.
The White House on Thursday asked Congress for half-a-billion dollars in aid to go towards opposition fighters in Syria at war with the regime of recently re-elected President Bashar Al-Assad.
The Associated Press reported that the multimillion dollar request makes up just a fraction of a larger, $65.8 billion overseas operations request sent to Congress that, if approved, would fund a number of Pentagon and State Department programs, as well as $1 billion in assistance to nations adjacent to Syria.