Saturday, January 4, 2014

Major confrontation between ISIS and other Syrian rebel formations

A major confrontation has broken out between the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and Syria’s other rebel militias, writes Joshua Landis  It is being led by a newly organized front, called the Front of Syrian Revolutionaries. But many other militias have also declared war on ISIS, insisting that it must abandon its attempt to establish a state and that its fighters must either integrate into Syria’s other militias or quite the country altogether. Fighting between Free Syria Army militias and ISIS has been widespread in the countryside of Aleppo and Idlib. Lanndis presents a map of who is fighting whom and where. (In order to see it and for the rest of the arcticle click here).

Reuters adds: One group of fighters battling ISIL was the newly formed Mujahideen Army, an alliance of eight brigades who accused the al Qaeda affiliate of hijacking their struggle to topple Assad.
They said ISIL fighters were "undermining stability and security in liberated areas" through theft, kidnapping and trying to impose their own brand of Islam, and vowed to fight them until ISIL was disbanded or driven out of Syria.

In response, ISIL pledged to fight back. "The blood of our brothers will not be shed in vain," it said in a statement. Fighters from the Islamic Front, made up of several Islamist brigades which in the past were close to ISIL, were engaged in heavy clashes with the group in northern Aleppo province, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Activists said dozens of fighters were killed in the clashes between rival rebel groups which have raged since Friday in Aleppo and Idlib provinces, close to the border with Turkey.
Landis writes:
A long series of ISIS attacks on competing rebel militias, preceded this war, but for the Islamic Front and Hassan Aboud in particular, the spark was the kidnapping and killing of Dr. Hussein al-Suleiman, a physician who was also a commander in the Ahrar al-Sham militia. Dr. Hussein was put in charge of the Bab al-Hawa border-crossing after Ahrar al-Sham troops, fighting under the name of the Islamic Front, took control of it in December 2013. Photos of his mutilated body, showing that an ear had been cut off, teeth knocked out, along with teh top of hi head shot off went viral on twitter, provoking widespread horror and outrage.

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