Some 700 dead in Syria rebels’ war-within-war

Some 700 dead in Syria rebels’ war-within-war
Sun Jan 12, 2014 17:05:01

Deadly fighting between an affiliate to the al-Qaeda in Syria with other groups, some of them also with al-Qaeda, has left some 700 dead, a monitoring group has said.

Nine days of infighting between the al Qaeda-linked group, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), and other groups including another al Qaeda-affiliated faction in Syria’s northern and western areas has killed 697 people, among them 351 militants from different groups and 246 members of the ISIL.

Peace talks are planned in Geneva on January 22 between the Syrian government and opponents who many blame for not cooperating for the talks to bear results.

The main opposition National Coalition has yet to formally decide whether to attend the talks at all with many of its figures announcing they’d rather continue the fight until they get more ground against the national army of Syria.

On Saturday, rebels moved a convoy including tanks and machinegun-mounted trucks to one of the ISIL's strongholds in the northwestern Idlib province in preparation to push the group out, the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The Britain-based monitoring group, which tracks developments in Syria through a network of military and medical sources within the foreign-backed opposition, said five miltiants were killed when their car hit a landmine outside the town, Saraqeb.

Heavy clashes were taking place around Saraqeb on Saturday, it said.

In Raqqa, the eastern provincial capital which has been suffering under a deadly occupation by extremist militants, the Observatory said ISIL militants seized a checkpoint and took over the train station from rival militants.

In an indication of how heavy the fighting had been in Raqqa in recent days with rival extremists including some loyal to another al Qaeda affiliate, the Nusra Front, the Observatory quoted medical sources as saying there were dozens of bodies of Islamic State militants in a hospital.

The ISIL militants had also dumped the corpses of dozens of their foes in the nearby village of Jazra, to the west of Raqqa, the Observatory said.
The monitoring group said on Friday 500 people had been killed in the fighting.


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