The ongoing “war within a war” between different Syrian rebel factions has picked up steam this weekend in Deir Ezzor Province, along Syria’s eastern border with Iraq.
The fighting is between al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) and the al-Qaeda faction Jabhat al-Nusra. Nusra has the approval of the parent al-Qaeda organization, but AQI has been disavowed as “too brutal.”
Fighting gripped several cities across the province, with at least 62 fighters killed and a large number wounded. The two sides had recently fought over the city of al-Bukamal, which AQI eventually took, and gives the faction an effectively contiguous corridor from Aleppo to the outskirts of Baghdad.
The fighting this time around was in the towns of Busayra, Abhra, and al-Zir, and between the three locations, some 60,000 civilians have reportedly had to flee, adding to an enormous refugee crisis.