Syria's biggest Islamist rebel groups promised Saturday "a state of law, freedom and justice," just months after the largest among them had flatly rejected democratic principles.
"The Syrian revolution is committed to the respect of human rights that are also encouraged by our religion," said the covenant, which all but revoked a November denunciation of democracy by the Islamic Front, which had also called for the establishment of an Islamic state.
"The Syrian revolution is a revolution based on morals and values with the objective of achieving freedom, justice and security (for) the entire Syrian society, with its diverse multi-ethnic and multi-sectarian social fabric," added the statement, posted by the Islamic Front on Twitter.
The document was co-signed by the Ajnad al-Sham Islamic Union, the Army of Mujahideen, Failaq al-Sham and the Furqan brigades -- all important rebel groups.
It also said the revolt's goal is "to overthrow the current regime and all its symbols.... and to bring them to justice in fair trials, (steering) away from any acts of revenge or retaliation."
The rebels said they are committed to fighting both President Bashar al-Assad's regime and the extremist Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which has been in open war with rival opposition factions and jihadists since January.
It said decisions should be "entirely Syrian", rejecting jihadist bids to influence the revolt.
The covenant said the signatories welcome "the opportunity to communicate and cooperate with regional and international" powers in the bid to overthrow Assad.
After Assad unleashed a brutal crackdown on protesters in March 2011, Syria's rebellion grew from rag-tag groups of army defectors and civilians taking up arms to a massive array of Islamist and moderate rebel groups of different sizes, ideologies and international backers.