First Published: 2017-02-14

Fighting between jihadist groups in Syria kills nearly 70
Two formerly allied jihadist groups clash in north Syria over influence in Idlib province, nearly 70 fighters dead.
Middle East Online

Airstrike debris in Idlib

IDLIB - Nearly 70 fighters from two formerly allied jihadist groups have been killed during infighting over the past 24 hours in northern Syria, a monitor said on Tuesday.

The clashes between former Al-Qaeda affiliate Fateh al-Sham and the hardline jihadist Jund al-Aqsa faction erupted on Monday morning, after tensions over influence in the northwestern province of Idlib.

The fighting reflects the growing strained relations between different factions in Idlib province that once fought alongside either other against President Bashar al-Assad's forces.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the clashes erupted after Jund al-Aqsa carried out a suicide bomb attack against a Fateh al-Sham headquarters in Idlib, killing nine people.

The toll has now risen to 69 dead from both sides in heavy clashes as well as executions, with the fighting spreading to the neighbouring province of Hama.

"There are battles between warlords, it's a war for influence," said Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman.

Jund al-Aqsa is reviled by most rebels in the region, and is designed a "terrorist group" by Washington.

Despite that, in October Fateh al-Sham announced it had taken Jund al-Aqsa under its wing, although clashes between the two groups erupted shortly afterwards.

In January, Fateh al-Sham also battled other rebel groups in Idlib during 10 days of clashes that killed dozens of fighters.

Idlib province is held almost entirely by opposition factions, and was captured by an alliance of fighters dubbed the Army of Conquest, led by Fateh al-Sham.

More than 310,000 people have been killed in Syria since the conflict began in March 2011 with anti-government protests.

The war has become a complex multi-front conflict, drawing in jihadist groups and international armies.

 

US criticizes 1915 massacres in Armenia

Iran, major powers were set to review adherence to nuclear deal

Syria ‘ready’ to halt fire for chemical attack probe

Netanyahu threatens to cancel talks with German FM over NGO meetings

LafargeHolcim CEO stepping down over Syria probe

Jailed British-Iranian sees final appeal rejected in Tehran

Turkish warplanes pound Kurdish forces in northeast Syria

Iran election may be pointer to race for supreme leader

US-backed forces enter key IS-held Syria town Tabqa

Israel probe clears officer who shot teen attackers

Israel charges teenager for bomb threats against Jewish institutions

Egypt sentences 20 to death over 2013 police killings

Erdogan accuses researcher of 'inciting assassination'

Qatar Airways CEO accuses US carriers of ‘bullying’

At least 15 migrants drown near Lesbos

Former employees work to salvage Mosul University

Jordan wary about jihadists wishing to return home

US fires opening shots in confrontation with Iran

Mattis sees Saudi Arabia ‘helping across the region’

Sirens, silence as Israel remembers Holocaust

Houthis intensify crackdown on dissent in Yemen

Italian reporter released in Turkey

Algiers summons Morocco envoy over Syrian migrant row

Macron, Le Pen gird for final French election duel

Iran reverses decision to ban live presidential debates

Six Israelis including two soldiers held for anti-Arab attacks

Economists, rights advocates concerned over Egypt’s state of emergency

US Defense Secretary Mattis visits strategic Djibouti

Qatari hunters ecstatic at release from Iraqi kidnappers

Prosecutor says charities colluding with migrant traffickers

France votes under heavy security

Iran's historically unpredictable elections

Israel kills three in attack on pro-regime Syria camp

Iran's Ahmadinejad won't endorse other candidates

Rocky days ahead after Turkey referendum

Huge Shiite crowd throngs Baghdad shrine

Rabat accuses Algiers of expelling 55 migrants across border

Morocco, US take part in joint military exercise

US defence secretary visits key ally Qatar

Lebanese activists ramp up campaign against rape law

Saudis among kidnapped hunters freed in Iraq

Trial in Tunisia beach massacre set to begin April 26

Tunisia hotel attacked by jihadists sees hope in 'rebirth'

IS claims deadly attack on FSB office in Russia

Spate of attacks shows weakening of Islamic State