Urfa, Turkey− Clashes erupted between fighters of the al-Qaeda affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and tribal armed groups in the city of Tel Abyad in Raqqa province, north of Syria. Since Friday, sporadic clashes took place between fighters from both parties, resulting in dozens of casualties, local sources reported.
Activists in Tel Abyad told ARA News that several bombings took place in different neighbourhoods in the city, followed by heavy gunfire.
The tribal groups are reportedly backed by Ahfad al-Rasoul brigade in the fight against the ISIL.
“ISIL fighters have first killed two members of Ahfad al-Rasoul brigade in Tel Abyad on Thursday, which led the brigade to support Arab tribal groups in the fight against the ISIL in an attempt to weaken the latter’s grip on the city,” a media activist said.
Meanwhile, clashes took place near the village of Bir Ashiq (7 kilometers east of Tel Abyad/Girespi) on Sunday between the ISIL and the brigade of Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah, a former ally of the ISIL. No casualties were reported.
The brigade of Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah was established recently by Arab tribal groups in the area in alliance with the ISIL, before the brigade joins other Syria rebels in the fight against the al-Qaeda-linked ISIL.
Hundreds of civilians escaped the violence in the area and crossed the border into Turkey over the last two days, activists said.
In a linked development, the Islamic Front −a main rebel group which is in conflict with ISIL− called on the Kurdish forces of the Popular Protection Units (YPG) to back the Front in its fight with the al-Qaeda affiliate, which is considered a mutual enemy to both groups.
Since more than a year, the YPG is in conflict with al-Qaeda affiliated fighters in Syria’s northern areas.
Sources in the ranks of the YPG said that the group sent fighters from Manbej and Jarablus cities to Tel Abyad last week in order to support Syria rebels in the fight against ISIL.
Reporting by: Ridwan Bizar
Source: ARA News
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