Syrian Rebels Fight Al-Qaeda Linked Jihadists

West of Aleppo


Deadly clashes were reported Friday in northern Syria between Sunni Islamist jihadists linked to Al Qaeda and insurgents in other alliances, punctuating a growing schism within the armed Syrian opposition over the power exerted by its religiously radicalized members, many of them from other countries.

Antigovernment activists in the Aleppo area said that fighting had broken out near the Idlib provincial town of Atareb, west of Aleppo, pitting members of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, a powerful Qaeda affiliate that includes foreign fighters, against an array of seven homegrown Syrian rebel groups. The rebels call themselves the Mujahedeen Army, and they resent what they see as ISIS's hijacking of their struggle, now nearly three years old, to depose President Bashar al-Assad.

The Mujahedeen Army also issued a statement in Arabic on Facebook essentially announcing that it now considered ISIS an enemy.