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Syrian rebels clash with al-Qaida-linked fighters

January 5, 2014 • World News


This citizen journalism image provided by Aleppo Media Center AMC which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows Syrians inspecting a burnt bus after a missile fired by Syrian government aircraft hit the vehicle in the rebel-held neighborhood of al-Bab in Aleppo, Syria, Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013. The bus was full of people when it was struck, setting it on fire and killing several people, activists said. (AP Photo/Aleppo Media Center AMC)

BEIRUT (AP) — Syrian opposition fighters battled rival rebels from an al-Qaida-linked faction across parts of northern Syria on Sunday, as deep fissures within the insurgency erupted into some of the most serious and sustained violence between groups opposed to President Bashar Assad since the country’s conflict began.

The clashes, which broke out on Friday and have spread to parts of four provinces, pit an array of moderate and ultraconservative Islamist brigades against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, an extremist group that has become both feared and resented in parts of opposition-held areas for trying to impose its hardline interpretation of Islam.

The fighting did not appear to be a turn in unison by Syrian rebel groups against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, activists and analysts said, but rather an outburst of violence against the al-Qaida-linked group in certain communities where tensions with other opposition factions were already simmering.

In a reflection of the fragmented and localized nature of much of the fighting in Syria’s civil war, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant continued to cooperate with rebel factions against government forces in other parts of the country.

But in some corners of opposition-held northern Syria, the Login to read more

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