Syria rebels unite, launch new revolt against jihadists

January 05, 2014 - 4:36:29 am

BEIRUT: Syrian rebels have united to kill and capture dozens of jihadists in a new “revolution” against an Al-Qaeda affiliate they accuse of worse abuses than the hated President Bashar Al Assad, activists said yesterday.

Three powerful rebel alliances have taken on fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) during two days of fierce combat in Aleppo and Idlib provinces that Syria’s main opposition National Coalition said it “fully supports.”

Jihadists who flocked to Syria to join the rebels in their fight against Assad were at first welcomed by the armed opposition. But relations grew bitter after ISIL fought other opposition groups for control and committed systematic abuses against activists and rival rebels, as well as ordinary citizens.

But in the past 48 hours, anti-Assad activists have described the escalation against ISIL as a new “revolution” in Syria, given ISIL’s increasing number of kidnappings and beheadings and other abuses.