Any hopes that the “war within a war” between Syrian rebel factions was starting to cool down were dashed this weekend, when a pair of high-profile rivals of al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) were slain in car bombings in Aleppo and an ambush in Hama.
The leader of one of the Islamic Front’s top fighting forces, the Tawhid Brigade, died in the Aleppo bombing against one of their bases, while another Islamic Front commander, Abu Hussein al-Dik, was slain in Hama.
The Islamic Front is the largest non-al-Qaeda rebel faction in Syria, and took over several AQI sites early last month. AQI has recovered most of the lost territory since, and seems to be looking to shore up their gains by continuing the offensive against their rivals.
AQI has regularly used car bombings to target its rivals across Syria, hitting territory held by the Assad government as well as that held by other rebels. This weekend’s hits are not unusual in that regard, but hitting Islamic Front multiple times suggests they believe the momentum is swinging in their favor in this regard, and that attacks on other rebels are a more promising near-term target than the government.
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