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Syria War: 'Dozens Killed' As Jihadists Clash In Idlib
The fighting is seen as a power struggle between jihadist groups
February 15th, 2017 | 08:51 AM | 1543 views
Dozens of fighters have been killed in clashes between two jihadist factions in northern Syria, reports say.
The battles involved Tahrir al-Sham, formerly an al-Qaeda affiliate, and Jund al-Aqsa, regarded as close to so-called Islamic State (IS).
UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said the fighting was a "war for influence" in Idlib province.
Inter-factional fighting has beleaguered insurgents since early on in the Syria war.
Last month, a hardline Islamist group, Ahrar al-Sham, was also involved in days of clashes in Idlib with Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (JFS), which rebranded itself as Tahrir al-Sham, an alliance of jihadist groups, at the end of January.
Nearly 70 people have been killed in the latest fighting, which began on Monday morning, according to the SOHR and a rebel commander.
Tahrir al-Sham has captured six villages from Jund al-Aqsa, the SOHR said. The two sides are also reported to have clashed in the north of neighbouring Hama province.
Idlib province, in the country's north-west, has long been a rebel stronghold, dominated by Ahrar al-Sham and JFS/Tahrir al-Sham.
The SOHR said the fighting erupted after Jund al-Aqsa carried out a suicide bombing on Tahrir al-Sham, killing nine people, AFP news agency reported.
However, a Jund al-Aqsa commander told the Associated Press that Tahrir al-Sham had attacked his group's positions first.
The two factions were allied for a short time last year but fell out soon after.
courtesy of BBC NEWS
by BBC News
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