Suggestions that the Syrian rebel factions unify into a “National Free Army” seem more unlikely than ever today, after another major conflict between two rebel factions, with al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) fighters attacking the Free Syrian Army (FSA).
The fighting took place in Raqqa, where AQI fighters overran the FSA’s Ahfad al-Rasoul brigade, capturing the group’s headquarters and forcing its fighters to flee into neighboring Turkey.
Rebels familiar with the situation say that the fighting over Raqqa had been going on off and on for months, but picked up in the past week. Two of the FSA commanders were killed in a car bombing at the city’s train depot earlier today.
The overall toll of the fighting is unclear, but Raqqa has been the site of multiple protests, with locals angry that they are being occupied by foreign factions, and that those factions are constantly at odds.