Fighters linked to al-Qaeda have killed two rebel leaders in bombings in Syria, in an apparent shift of tactics to target the command structures of their rivals, media outlets reported on Sunday.
The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that Adnan Bakour, the leader of Liwa al-Tawhid, was among 26 people killed in a double suicide bombing late on Saturday in Aleppo.
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, which has links with al-Qaeda, said it carried out the attack on Tawhid, a brigade aligned to the Islamic Front coalition, a group fighting the ISIL in Aleppo and beyond.
In another attack late on Saturday in Hama, the leader of the powerful Suqour al-Sham group, Abu Hussein al-Dik, was killed by the ISIL, according to sources spoken to Al Jazeera.
Charles Lister, of the Brookings Doha Centre, told Al Jazeera that the ISIL was clearly targeting key headquarters, "strategic checkpoints and senior influential commanders" of their rival rebel groups.
The attacks are the latest in weeks of rebel infighting that has pitted a loose alliance of Syrian fighters against al-Qaida linked groups such as the ISIL.
Aleppo city has been divided since rebels launched a huge offensive in mid-2012, and heavy fighting between the two sides has left swathes of the city in ruins.
The aerial assault came the day after peace talks in Geneva between the Syrian government and the opposition ended without achieving concrete results.
Government forces recently launched an offensive on rebel-held areas in the east of the city, with the Syrian defense minister, General Fahd al-Freij, visiting parts of northern Aleppo province on Friday.
Troops' advance has been assisted by weeks of rebel infighting that has pitted a loose alliance of Syrian fighters against al-Qaeda linked extremists of the ISIS.
Also Sunday, a group that supports militants posted a video to social networks showing a Sunni fighter beheading another man as adults and children gathered to watch.
In the video, adults cheer as the fighter cuts the other man's head off with a small knife, according to AP.
The beheaded man's hands are tied, and it isn't clear if he was alive while he was being beheaded. The men's accents and languages suggest the fighters are a mix of Russian-speakers, foreign Arabs and Syrians.
Abdurrahman of the Observatory said Sunday that the video was likely filmed in the central Syrian province of Homs last week.
Photos of the body and severed head were also posted to a separate Instagram account by a supporter of the Al-Qaeda linked Islamic State. The photograph showed another decapitated body nearby.
The video underscores why many among Syria's Christian and Muslim minorities support Assad in the three-year uprising against his rule, fearing extremist militants will ultimately prevail should Assad fall.
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