Free Syrian army clashes with jihadists in wake of commander’s assassination


Martin Chulov
guardian.co.uk
July 14, 2013

Months of uneasy calm between jihadists and the mainstream Syrian opposition spilled into fierce fighting in Aleppo on Saturday, days after a senior Free Syria army commander was assassinated by a jihadi group.

The fighting was in Bustan al-Qasr in the south-east of the divided city, near a main checkpoint between the regime-held west and the opposition-held east. The east has been under the nominal control of units associated with the FSA for much of the past year. However, jihadists who have also been trying to assert themselves and this week took over the checkpoint, stopping people and supplies from crossing.

The battle underscored the fast-splintering nature of the Syrian opposition, which made sweeping military gains across much of northern Syria last year, but has been unable to advance from its key strongholds in Aleppo and elsewhere since January.

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