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Syrian rebel factions clash in north-western Aleppo town

Syrian rebel factions battled each other in north-western Aleppo town [AFP]

Date of publication: 15 November, 2016

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Rebel groups under the Free Syrian Army clashed among themselves in the town of Azaz, north-western Aleppo, Reuters reported on Monday.
Syrian rebel factions battled each other in a north-western Aleppo town on Monday, as inter-rebel tensions heightened much to the advantage of President Bashar al-Assad, whose forces tightened their grip on the besieged rebel-held city.

The Levant Front rebel group of the Free Syrian Army [FSA] clashed with other rebel factions fighting under the FSA banner as well as the Islamist Ahrar al-Sham in the town of Azaz, Reuters reported.

In the fighting the Levant Front lost headquarters and checkpoints it previously held, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, forcing the rebel group to recall some fighters from the al-Bab city, where they had been battling Islamic State [IS] militants.

The Levant Front claimed its fighters were attacked by rival groups, including Nour al-Din al-Zinki militant group, which also fights under the FSA banner and has strong links to al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat Fateh al-Sham.

Meanwhile, a source on the other side said Ahrar al-Sham and Zinki group launched a campaign to remove factions that were "acting like gangs" from northern Syria.

Reuters reported a Levant Front official described the confrontation as a possible lethal blow to the Syrian opposition.

Officials from the Syrian opposition described the fighting as a blow to the rebels in Aleppo who have also been clashing with Syrian regime forces in the city's outskirts.

Rebel factions in Syria have been divided over local power struggles and ideological differences.

Well-armed Islamists groups have crushed nationalist factions as well as engaged in fighting each other, most notably in the eastern Ghouta in Damascus this year. 

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