Rival Rebels Oust al-Qaeda From Aleppo Headquarters

Dozens of Captives Freed in Attack

The “war within a war” between various Syrian rebel factions continues again today, with one of the Islamist factions ousting al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) from its de facto headquarters in Aleppo city.

The headquarters, an old children’s hospital, had been occupied by hundreds of AQI fighters, who have apparently left and gone elsewhere in the nation.

The Islamist faction reportedly freed dozens of prisoners they found within the AQI base, and also found several bodies of people that had apparently been executed.

The loss of the hospital is another blow to AQI, which has been on its heels since Friday, when multiple other rebel factions turned on them. The group still retains significant territory in the north, however, and is said to be reinforcing its positions in Raqqa, its biggest stronghold.

One of AQI’s spokesmen also announced that the secular rebels, the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and their political wing in the Syrian National Coalition, are now to be considered “legitimate targets,” advising their fighters to “kill them wherever you find them and without dignity,” adding that “they launched this war against us and started it.”

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.