Syrian rebels and al-Qaida group end battle near Turkish border

September 20, 2013 12:55


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BEIRUT- Al-Qaida-linked fighters and a rival Syrian rebel group declared a truce on Friday after two days of clashes near the Turkish frontier in which the militant Islamists overran a border town, rebels said.

Fighters from an al-Qaida affiliate, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), on Wednesday killed at least five members of the Northern Storm Brigade, a rebel group that controls the border.

Clashes continued on Thursday, highlighting deep divisions in the opposition that is fighting to overthrow President Bashar Assad in Syria's 2-1/2-year-old civil war.

The fight in the town of Azaz was one of the most serious between ideologically moderate rebels and ISIL, which is made up largely of foreign fighters. It prompted Turkey to shut a border crossing.

A ceasefire agreement posted on the Northern Storm Brigade's Facebook page was signed by both parties and negotiated by the powerful Islamist Tawheed Brigade, which is based in Aleppo, about 20 miles (30 km) south of Azaz.

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