ISIS vs. al-Qaeda: Islamist Rebel Factions Clash in Northern Syria

ISIS-Linked Faction Launches Attacks on Nusra-Led Coalition

The northernmost parts of the Hama Province, and the southernmost strip of the Idlib Province have been the site of a lot of rebel infighting in recent weeks, with the moderate Islamist coalition facing heavy offensives from the less-moderate Islamist coalition dominated by al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front.

Today, a third faction is involved, as the Nusra coalition claimed to have been attacked by Jund al-Aqsa, a faction coordinating with ISIS, and that this other Islamist faction launched suicide attacks and car bombings against them.

Jund al-Aqsa had been fighting alongside Nusra in some previous battles but they had a falling out last year, with reports saying there were significant ideological differences centered on the Jund’s closer identification with ISIS than with al-Qaeda.

The moderate Islamist faction, which up until a couple of weeks ago had been the dominant faction in northern Hama, insists they were totally uninvolved in today’s fighting, but that’s probably not going to be the case for long, with the close proximity of western-backed moderates to more hardline groups usually leading to fights.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.