Syria Rebel Infighting Now Spans Four Provinces

War Within a War Expanding Across Northwest

The Syrian Civil War isn’t slowing down itself, and there were already more than a few “wars within the war,” but the new fighting in the rebel-held northwest looks to take this to new levels.

Amid protests by anti-al-Qaeda locals, the secular Free Syrian Army (FSA) and the Islamic Front both started attacking al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) holdings, chasing them from several bases in Idlib Province.

AQI recovered quickly, and has begun pumping reinforcements into the area, and now the fight is spreading across the rebel-territory, with four provinces in the area now reporting clashes.

The fighting aims to question AQI’s relative dominance over rebel-held territory. An open question, however, is whether the FSA and Islamic Front are working in tandem or are both taking opportunities to claim AQI’s less-defended possessions where they can. Either way, northwest Syria seems headed toward further balkanization.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of