Alexander Dziadosz
The Daily Star
March 14, 2014

An al-Qaeda splinter group in Syria pulled out of two provinces in the country’s northwest on Friday and headed to its eastern strongholds after months of clashes with rival rebels, activists said.

The Islamic State in Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), a former al Qaeda affiliate, and competing insurgents have been fighting since the start of the year, killing over 3,000 people and undermining the revolt against President Bashar Assad.

On Friday, ISIS – which alienated many rebels by seizing territory and killing rival commanders – finished withdrawing from the Idlib and Latakia provinces and moved its forces toward the eastern Raqqa province and the eastern outskirts of the northern city of Aleppo, activists said.

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