Reuters reports: An al Qaeda splinter group has withdrawn its forces from Syria’s oil-rich eastern province of Deir al-Zor, activists and rebels said on Monday, after days of heavy fighting with its rivals.
Rebel groups, including al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate the Nusra Front, have been battling the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) for control of towns and oilfields in the area, sparking a spate of car bombs in the province.
“The ISIL fighters have almost completely withdrawn from Deir al-Zor. The fighters are moving to Hassaka and Raqqa (provinces),” said a source from the Nusra Front, who asked not to be named. Raqqa remains the stronghold of ISIL.
Pro-ISIL activists on Twitter said the group had withdrawn from Deir al-Zor to prevent further bloodshed.
Several rebel groups launched a campaign last month to try to push ISIL forces, their former allies, out of opposition-held regions in northern and eastern Syria. [Continue reading…]