Intense fighting between a coalition led by al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front and a more moderate rebel coalition in Idlib and Hama Provinces appears to have ground to a dramatic halt in recent days with the intense offensives of Jund al-Aqsa, an ISIS-affiliated rebel faction which has shown up in the area and begun attacking both.
A little under a week of fighting by Jund al-Aqsa left the ground with a massive number of prisoners from both of the other rebel factions, an issue they reportedly decided to resolve with a mass execution, with an estimated 150-200 fighters killed overall.
Exact figures are, of course, impossible to come by at this point, but a rebel spokesman for the moderate Jaish al-Nasr faction claimed more than 160 Free Syrian Army fighters were killed in total, along with at least 43 from the Nusra Front’s coalition, Tahrir al-Sham.
Jund al-Aqsa had been loosely allied with the Nusra Front for some time, particularly around the outskirts of Idlib, but the groups cited ideological differences in their split. Exactly how close Jund al-Aqsa is to ISIS on the ground isn’t clear, but they are ideologically close.
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