Two of the largest terrorist organizations in Syria are once again at war with one another after an Al-Qaeda linked group launched a surprise assault on the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham’s (ISIS) defenses in the Qalamoun Mountains.
Jabhat Al-Joulan (Al-Qaeda franchise) carried out an attack on ISIS’ positions inside the villages of Wadi Al-Zamrani and Wadi Al-Murtabiyah, resulting in a violent battle that claimed the lives 23 insurgents.
ISIS was able to repel the large-scale assault that was launched by Jabhat Al-Joulan on Sunday; however, not before they lost 13 combatants along the western slopes of the Qalamoun Mountains.
Despite their military failure in the Qalamoun Mountains, Jabhat Al-Joulan only lost a total of 10 fighters during their battle with ISIS on Sunday, leaving the aforementioned terrorist group with the higher death toll.
Below Images from the battle were posted by ISIS’ official media network “Al-‘Amaq News”, along with an official statement confirming their victory on Sunday.
Disputes escalate between Syria’s Qaeda and FSA rebels in Idlib
Al Qaida-affiliated Nusra Front has accused the Free Syrian Army’s (FSA) Division 13 of attacking their checkpoints and bases in northern Syria.Nusra member Abu Saeed al-Holandi said: “We had agreed to solve the problems without violence through the court. But in the meanwhile the Division 13 are inciting their supporters.”
“Nusra has complied with the decisions of the court, and has so far remained aloof,” he added.
The disputes could lead to renewed clashes between the rebel groups in Syria’s northwestern Idlib province.
“Expect Jabhat al-Nusra [Nusra Front] to retaliate versus 13th Division in Idlib tonight and or tomorrow morning. Key 24hrs ahead for shape of Idlib future,” said Charles Lister, a Resident Fellow at the Middle East Institute.
“This is a test for the U.S. policy in Syria. The United States says that it wants to reduce the influence, and work towards the defeat of Al Qaeda in Syria as much as it does to eliminate ISIS,” said Nicholas Heras, a Washington-based Middle East researcher at the Centre for a New American Security.
“This is a critical stage in the Syrian civil war and there is a genuine opportunity for the moderate opposition to take advantage of the cessation of hostilities to weaken ideological extremist elements within it,” he told ARA News.
“If the U.S. misses this moment to double down support for Division 13 and its FSA allies, there may not be another opportunity before Al Qaeda embeds itself like a tick in Idlib’s civil society,” Heras added.