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.

 

Iraq forces look to build floating bridge in Mosul

Erdogan ‘not welcome’ to campaign in Austria

Israel bombs Gaza after rocket attack

Ailing Bouteflika 'doing well' despite health scare

Film on Syria's White Helmets wins Academy Award

Libya PM to visit Moscow seeking better ties

Conditions in Libya driving migration to Europe

Is Jordan signalling a shift in its Syria strategy?

11 killed in Syria regime raids

Polisario dismisses Rabat pullback from contested zone

Israeli checkpoint guards shoot Palestinian woman

Saudi Aramco to invest $7 billion in Malaysia oil refinery

Referendum set to be tight race for Turkey’s Erdogan

Cyber attacks in Gulf countries on the rise

Iraqi forces reach key Mosul bridge

UN urges negotiating Syria rivals to avoid insults

EU border agency says migrant rescues encourage traffickers

Israeli officials brace for Gaza war report

Key Egyptian legislator says poverty more dangerous than terrorism

UN chief says disregard for rights 'spreading'

GCC geopolitics spike military sales at IDEX

ISIS has brought Saudi Arabia and the United States closer

Morocco to withdraw from Western Sahara tension zone

Shia leadership struggle ahead after Khamenei and Sistani

The huge risks of Trump’s call to ‘take’ Iraqi oil

Trump set to zero in on Hezbollah in bid to curb Iran

Time bomb of unemployment among Arab youth

Push on IS capital Raqqa gathers momentum

Woman journalist says targeted by hardliners in Sudan

Iran's Ahmadinejad writes open letter to Trump

Iran's Rouhani to run for re-election

Kurdish reporter killed while covering Mosul battle

Libya govt secures ceasefire after Tripoli clashes

Boosting presidental powers will 'stabilise' Turkey, says PM

Saudi Foreign Minister in landmark visit to Iraq

Iraqi forces push deeper into west Mosul

Suicide attacks kill 42 in Syria's Homs

Top US commander in secret Syria trip

Israel to deny Human Rights Watch visas for being ‘biased’

UN considers Syria sanctions over chemical attacks

Saudi Comic-Con slammed as ‘sin’ in online backlash

Jordanians protest government price hikes

Baghdad coordinated anti-IS airstrikes with Damascus says source

New Hamas Gaza leader makes first public appearance

Palestinian protestors clash with Israeli soldiers in West Bank