Another major clash has broken out between rebels loyal to the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and the al-Qaeda Iraq (AQI) fighters in the country, with a local AQI leader in Idlib Province and 12 of his supporters killed, along with six other unidentified people.
The local AQI leader, Abu Abdullah al-Libi, was dubbed a “top commander” in the group by some reports, though his actual position organization-wide is unclear, as is the impact his death will have on the overall position of al-Qaeda inside Syria.
The fighting took place in Hazano, just across the border from Reyhanli, and Libi was among the first killed in an apparent ambush. Though the fighters who attacked them were apparently FSA-linked, the FSA’s leadership denied any involvement in the attack.
FSA and al-Qaeda fighters have been clashing off and on for months now, and while each group has tried to keep the focus on fighting the Assad government, they are increasingly fighting a war-within-a-war against one another, and have admonished their respective supporters to avoid alliances with the rival faction.