The Islamic Front issued yesterday a strong warning to al-Qaeda jihadists with the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL), three days after a new front made up of local insurgents emerged against them.
“We fight against whoever attacks us and whoever pushes us to battle, whether they are Syrian or foreign” said the Front.
Since Friday, along with the Syrian Revolutionaries Front and the Mujahedeen Army, the Islamic Front has been engaged in fierce fighting with ISIL. The latest clashes broke out Friday after residents accused ISIL members of killing a doctor in Syria’s northern province of Aleppo. The Islamic Front issued a statement ordering ISIL to hand over the doctor’s killers so they could be put on trial. Clashes later erupted between the groups.
The focus of combat has been in opposition areas in Aleppo and Idlib provinces, but Sunday spread to Hama and Raqqa provinces.
Scores of militants have been killed on both sides. ISIL killed at least 50 rival militants Sunday, in addition to seven who were summarily executed by ISIL in Harem, in Idlib.
Some of the heaviest fighting Sunday took place in the town of Manbij in Aleppo province, where militants seized an ISIL compound
Clashes also erupted in the town of Tabqa in the northern province of Raqqa, where ISIL is most dominant.
ISIS fighters ceded ground near the Turkish border to rival Islamists Sunday, in what seemed to be a tactical withdrawal.
Syrian opposition activists said ISIL had pulled back Sunday from strong points including Dana and Atme in Idlib province and that fighters from the al-Nusra Front and Ahrar al-Sham, with the Islamic Front, had moved in.
ISIL has been accused of horrific abuses in areas where it operates, and also of seeking hegemony by taking key roads and checkpoints from its rivals.
Activists are calling for countrywide protests next Friday under the slogan: "Day of rage against al-Qaeda".