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.

 

16 killed in Israeli shelling of UN school in Gaza

Islamists capture key Benghazi army base

US plans largest ever sale of lethal missiles to Iraq

Syria rebels advance towards Hama military airport

Qatar invests in Israeli soccer

Militants fire at Tunisia army helicopter

Italian fire-fighting planes to come to Libya rescue

Emirates airline to avoid flying over Iraq

Bloodshed in Gaza surges amid no truce

Major western powers call for Libya ceasefire

US-Israeli ties sink to new depths over Gaza war

UN warns buying oil from terrorists could lead to sanctions

Air Algerie crash black boxes sent to France

Warning of Tripoli catastrophe after huge oil depot blaze

US, UN call for immediate Gaza ceasefire

Egypt army kills 14 jihadists in restive Sinai Peninsula

Calls for temporary Gaza ceasefire fall on deaf ears

Yemen army foils new Qaeda attempt to seize military posts

Investigators need ‘few days’ to probe cause of Algeria plane crash

Tunisia army suffers more losses in open war with terrorism

Jihadists advance amid escalation in Syria anti-regime offensive

Iraq Shiite militia takes bloody revenge against ‘Islamic State’ in Baquba

Fierce clashes kill at least 38 people in Benghazi

Israel resumes devastating military assault on Gaza

Thousands face famine as food security situation worsens in Somalia

Death toll in Gaza climbs as fragile ceasefire reveals destruction

Egypt summons Turkey charge d'affaires for second time in one week

‘Islamic State’ jihadists dynamite Shiite shrine in Mosul

US evacuates embassy staff in Libya over ‘real risk’

Investigators begin 'difficult' probe into Air Algerie plane disaster

Armed men snatch Head of Baghdad Provincial Council

‘Islamic State’ beheads Syrian soldiers in Raqa

Kerry in Paris for talks on long-term Gaza truce

Hezbollah chief speaks out on Gaza

Two rival Islamic states in Syria power struggle

Crete protest against Syria chemicals destruction in Mediterranean

74 killed in IS assault on Syria regime territory

Iran confirms arrest of Washington Post correspondent

Somali 'Shebab commanders' killed in AU offensive

Paris: survivors of Air Algerie jet crash 'unlikely'

Jordan shots down drone near Syria border

Gaza civilian toll spiralling to above 800

UN urges Europe to tackle Mediterranean migrant crisis

From Israel with ‘virus’: Death threat letter reaches Palestinian mission in France

Ordeal of ‘apostasy’ woman ends with departure from Sudan