First Published: 2013-08-12

 

Rebels team up with Nusra jihadists against Syria Kurds

 

Syria rebel fighters kidnap 13 Kurds in northern province of Aleppo, turning them over to jihadist fighters already holding 250 abducted Kurds.

 

Middle East Online

War within a war

BEIRUT - Syrian rebel fighters kidnapped 13 Kurds in the northern province of Aleppo on Sunday, turning them over to jihadist fighters already holding 250 abducted Kurds, an NGO said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the 13 were snatched at a roadblock in the Sfeira region of Aleppo and passed them on to Al-Nusra Front, a jihadist group affiliated with Al-Qaeda.

Al-Nusra and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), another Al-Qaeda-linked group operating in Syria, have abducted more than 250 Syrian Kurds since the end of July.

The majority were taken hostage as the two groups overran two Kurdish villages, Tall Aren and Tall Hassel, at the end of July.

Syria's Kurds have been battling jihadist fighters for months in northern and northeastern Syria, where the minority hopes to establish an autonomous zone.

The clashes have intensified since mid-July, when Kurdish fighters pushed jihadists out of the village of Ras al-Ain and its adjacent border crossing with Turkey.

The fighting has left dozens of dead on both sides, according to the Britain-based Observatory.

In Tall Aren and Tall Hassel, at least 26 Kurds, including 10 fighters, were killed by jihadist groups between July 29 and August 5, according to the monitoring group, which relies on a network of activists, doctors and lawyers on the ground.

Syria's Kurds have incurred the wrath of many rebel fighters, jihadists and more moderate factions, for failing to openly side with the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad.

Instead, the minority has focused on protecting its areas and strengthening autonomous rule.

Ties between the jihadist groups and other rebel organisations are also complex.

In some areas, rebel groups work alongside the jihadist groups, but in others, including in Idlib province of the north, tensions between the two sides have erupted into open, deadly conflict.

Rebel groups largely welcomed the arrival of jihadist organisations like Nusra, which includes foreign fighters among its ranks, in the early days of their armed uprising against the regime that has cost more than 100,000 lives since March 2011.

But initial enthusiasm for the supplies and fighting skills of the groups has waned amid accusations of abuses by members of Nusra and ISIS.

 

Yemen rebels launch first major attack on Saudi

Iraqi Kurd leader to meet Obama next week

Iran trying to buy nuclear technology

Syria army launches offensive on rebel attacks in regime bastion

Qatar unveils world’s biggest environment project

Istanbul under security lockdown on May Day

ICC will consider Palestinian war crimes too

Dutch anti-Islam lawmaker 'warns' America against Muslim immigration

Ban warns fuel shortages threaten Yemen relief operations

Sudan maintains balancing act with Saudi Arabia, Iran

Syria, Iran vow to step up fight against ‘terrorism’

Iran warships reach entrance of key Yemen strait

Iraq offers amnesty to personnel who fled ‘Islamic State’

UN envoy urges Israel to lift Gaza Strip blockade

France set to sell Qatar 24 Rafale jets

Mali peace deal tatters

Saudi-led coalition pounds rebels in south Yemen

Iran opposition leader: Tehran ‘godfather’ of IS

Saudi king concentrates power in his inner circle

Sadr threatens to attack US interests over budget provision

France increases defence budget in response to extremist threats

Hamas silences pro-unity protest in Gaza Strip

Turkey acquits all leaders of 2013 protests against Erdogan

Iraq seeks to counter IS propaganda victory in Anbar

After four decades, Prince Saud al-Faisal steps down as Saudi Foreign Minister

Sisi vows elections for 2015

Iraqi peshmerga leave Syria’s Kobane

Iran-Saudi war of words heats up

Bahrainis jailed, stripped of nationality, for 'terrorist acts'

Prince Mohammed bin Nayef named new heir to Saudi throne

Iran detains US cargo ship in Strait of Hormuz

Syria defence minister starts official visit to Iran

Saudi Arabia foils suicide bombing against US embassy in Riyadh

Morocco arrests four people over 'burning alive' fatwa

Arab Israelis observe general strike over house demolitions

IS Libya killings videos haunts asylum seekers in Israel

UN blames Israel for Gaza shelter attacks

New rebel alliance ups the ante on Syria regime

Kerry meets Zarif on Iran nuclear deal, Yemen crisis

Gulf foreign ministers set to meet with focus on Yemen war

Iran leads NAM calls for Israel to give up nuclear weapons

UN: Israeli actions killed 44 Palestinians at UN shelters

Journalists face ‘deadliest period’ in recent history

Leading member of Syria ‘tolerated’ opposition escapes to Spain

Arab coalition adopts two-pronged strategy to resolve Yemen conflict