Rebels clash with Qaida-linked opposition group in Syria

July 6, 2013 16:32

BEIRUT - Rebels clashed with an opposition unit linked to al Qaeda in northern Syria, activists said on Saturday, in a deadly battle that signals growing divisions among rebel groups and rising tensions between locals and more radical Islamist factions.

The rebel infighting comes as forces loyal to President Bashar Assad have made gains on the battlefield and drawn comfort from the downfall this week of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, which under ousted President Mohamed Morsi had thrown its weight behind the Syrian opposition.The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), the new al Qaeda franchise announced by the head of global network's Iraq leader, has been quickly working to cement power in rebel-held territories of northern Syria in recent months.

ISIS units have begun to impose stricter interpretations of Islamic law and have filmed themselves executing members of rival rebel groups whom they accuse of corruption, and beheading those they say are loyal to Assad.

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