Syrian rebels clash with former al-Qaeda group

Syrian rebels clash with former al-Qaeda group
Heavy clashes have erupted between Fatah al-Sham militants and Syrian rebels again, following an earlier inter-opposition confrontation in Idlib earlier this week.
2 min read
28 January, 2017
The fighting is separate to the main battle between the Syrian regime and opposition [Anadolu]

Militants from a former Syrian branch of al-Qaeda clashed with rebel fighters in nothern Syria on Saturday, local sources reported. 

Fatah al-Sham - formerly known as al-Nusra Front - launched fierce attacks on foreign-backed rebel factions on Friday, and clashes in Idlib's Sarmada, Ras Elhisn and Kafr Dariyan continued onto Saturday.

The base of the headquarters of rebel force Jaish al-Mujahideen in Takad was attacked on Friday.

"A military commander from Jaish al-Mujahideen was killed in the attack," a rebel source told The New Arab, "At least two rebel fighters were also wounded."

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said both sides were using "heavy weaponry", and reported a number of civilian casualties.

Heavy clashes between Fatah al-Sham and Syrian rebel forces erupted earlier this week in west of Aleppo and the nearby rebel-held Idlib province.

Rebel groups, including Jaish al-Islam, Suqour al-Sham, the Fastaqeem Union, al-Jabhat al-Shamiye, Thuwar al-Sham, and Jaish al-Mujahideen merged with the powerful Ahrar al-Sham faction this week to form a united front against Fatah al-Sham.

The fighting - which is separate to the main battle between the Syrian regime and rebels - threatens to weaken rebel factions fighting President Bashar al-Assad in the opposition's largest stronghold.

Dozens of people in towns close to the fighting marched in protest of Fatah al-Sham's targeting of rebel factions fighting the regime, the Observatory reported. 

The protesters also called for an immediate end to fighting to avoid civilian causalities.

Syria's civil war has killed at least 310,000 people and displaced millions from their homes since it started in March 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-government protests.