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Robert Cusack

Jund al-Aqsa 'may have broken' north Syria rebel alliance

Recent fighting between rebel groups led to increased numbers of refugees in the area [AFP]

Date of publication: 11 October, 2016

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The salafist rebel group, Jund al-Aqsa, may have broken an hours-old agreement between Ahrar al-Sham and Jabhat Fateh al-Sham on Monday night, after it attacked Ahrar al-Sham's headquarters.
According to unverified reports, the al-Qaeda affiliated rebel group, Jund al-Aqsa, broke a peace agreement with several other rebel groups in Idlib, merely hours after it was brokered.

A number of spokespersons for different rebel groups have claimed that soldiers from Jund al-Aqsa attacked Ahrar al-Sham's in the villages of Tahtaya and Khan Shaykhun, both near Idlib.

The attack comes just hours after a hand-written agreement was signed between Ahrar al-Sham and Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (previously al-Nusra Front), affirming an end to the fighting between Ahrar al-Sham and Jund al-Aqsa.

The statement agreed to an "immediate ceasefire, the opening of all closed roads and the immediate release of detainees from all sides except Islamic State."

Translation: Ahrar al-Sham and Fatah al-Sham published the text of the terms of agreement between
them, ending
the recent killing between al-Ahrar and Jund al-Aqsa

The hand-written agreement, which was published to Twitter, also established "the formation of a committee with five judges, two from Ahrar al-Sham, two from Fateh al-Sham and one neutral, to follow up on any claims made by any party."

The agreement came the day after Jund al-Aqsa joined Fateh al-Sham in order to "avoid shedding the blood of Muslims" and "overcome the internal fighting" between Ahrar al-Sham and Jund al-Aqsa.

Jund al-Aqsa was designated a terrorist group by the United States on September 20 and Fatah al-Sham, previously referred to as 'al-Qaeda in Syria', was labelled a terrorist organisation in 2012.

Violent fighting broke out between Jund al-Aqsa and Ahrar al-Sham last week, leading to dozens of deaths on both sides.

A number of commanders were kidnapped and murdered on both sides and videos emerged of captives who were allegedly murdered.

On October 6, the UN envoy for Syria, de Mistura, made a personal plea for Fatah al-Sham to leave Aleppo, saying that it would lead to an end to the siege.

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