Rebel Infighting Surges in Northwest Syria; Al-Qaeda Attacks Several Towns

Al-Qaeda insists Turkey-backed rebels started fighting earlier this week

Heavy fighting between al-Qaeda’s Syrian faction, the Tahrir al-Sham, and Turkish-aligned fighters from Nouraddin al-Zinki continued to rage on Thursday, with several days of fighting in and around Aleppo Province threatening to spill over into Idlib, and start to involve the territory of even more rebel groups.

Al-Qaeda appears to be on the offensive now, attacking several towns, and seizing Darat Izza, a strategically important town. Al-Qaeda insists that the other side started the fighting, and these offensives are simply their response.

Darat Izza seems to be a particularly key town in all of this, as other rebel groups say they believe that it would greatly strengthen al-Qaeda’s bargaining position with Turkey in the “secret talks” they believe are ongoing.

Exact death tolls are not available, but both sides are believed to have lost dozens of fighters. Only about five civilian deaths are confirmed so far, with most fighting not happening in populated areas. As the fighting expands, this could change, however.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.