BEIRUT - The head of al-Qaida's wing in Syria has given rival Islamist militants five days to accept mediation to end their infighting or face a war which "will terminate them", according to an audio recording posted on Tuesday.

Abu Mohammed al-Golani, leader of the Nusra Front, called on the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group to agree to arbitration by religious scholars to end more than a year of feuding which has turned violent in some areas in Syria.

Heavy clashes between the two groups and other Islamist fighters in rebel-held northern and eastern Syria have led to hundreds of deaths and have undermined the wider military campaign against President Bashar Assad's forces.

"We will wait for five days from the date of this recording for your formal reply," Golani said in the audio tape, released on an Islamist web site.

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