Caucasus Islamists Split From Al-Qaeda-Linked Syria Rebels

A group of Islamist militants from Russia's volatile North Caucasus region fighting in Syria say they have split with a major Al-Qaeda-linked rebel unit.

The group, calling itself the Mujahedin of the Caucasus and the Levant, announced its decision to split from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in a video posted on YouTube on September 3.

The video's authenticity could not be immediately verified.

The announcement in the video was made by a bearded man standing among some 40 fighters and speaking in halting Russian.

It was translated into Arabic by another fighter.

Islamist militants from Russia's North Caucasus are known to have been involved in some of the major attacks against Syrian government forces over the past year.

Russia is Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's main ally.