The killings in the Jabal al-Zawiya region appeared to be part of
the wider confrontation by an alliance of rebels against the Islamic
State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), across rebel-held territories
of northern and eastern Syria.
Observatory director Rami Abdulrahman said most of the 34 dead were
ISIL fighters, along with some others from an allied group called
Jund al-Aqsa. They were captured, separated from Syrian fighters,
and killed, he said.
It was not possible to verify the report independently due to
reporting restrictions in Syria, where President Bashar al-Assad's
forces have been battling rebels in a nearly three-year conflict
which has killed more than 100,000 people.
The latest infighting between Assad's foes erupted four days ago in
the northern provinces of Aleppo and Idlib, fuelled by resentment
against ISIL's radical Islamist agenda and a turf war near the
Turkish border for strongholds which control supply routes into
The fighting has also spread to the eastern city of Raqqa, the only
Syrian city under full rebel control.
[to top of second column]
The Syrian Network for Human Rights, another opposition monitoring
group, said on Monday 71 ISIL fighters, 20 rival rebels and 26
civilians had been killed in the fighting to oust ISIL in Raqqa and
other parts of Syria since Friday.
The fighting took place as ISIL fighters seized Sunni Muslim towns
hundreds of miles away on the Euphrates in neighboring Iraq,
challenging a Shi'ite-led government in Baghdad which they see as
allied, like Assad, to Shi'ite Iran.
(Editing by Angus MacSwan)
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