Volume. 11892

Syria rebel infighting spreads to city in east
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c_330_235_16777215_0___images_stories_edim_01_Syria99(13).jpgSyrian rebel fighters freed at least 50 people held captive by an al-Qaeda-linked faction on Monday, after clashes between the rival sides spread further in the country's opposition-held areas in the north, activists said.
The rebel-on-rebel fighting in Raqqa - a bastion of the al-Qaeda-linked group known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant - reflects a widening war within a war in Syria, this one against radical extremists.
It also suggests emboldened, recently formed terrorists are trying to completely overrun their al-Qaeda rivals in some areas of the north. The infighting has been the most serious since armed groups initially rose to try overthrow the rule of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Tensions against al-Qaeda-linked terrorists had been simmering for months, with on-and-off clashes undermining the rebels' fight to topple Assad. Heavy fighting erupted in the northern provinces of Aleppo and Idlib again on Friday after residents there accused ISIL fighters of killing a popular doctor.
An activist group, the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, estimated that at least 100 terrorists on both sides have been killed since Friday.
The rebels fighting against the ISIL are an unruly series of moderate and ultra-conservative groups who have little to unite them, except for their hatred of the al-Qaeda group. The group is dominated by foreign fighters who initially fanned into Syria from neighboring Iraq in March and muscled into areas that rebels wrested from Assad-loyal forces, imposing their deeply conservative interpretation of Islamic law.
Rebels accused them of overtaking their areas, seizing their weapons and detaining their fighters. They also have eroded the good will of the locals by imprisoning Syrian civilians and detaining activists and journalists critical of their rule.
(Source: AP)

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