Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Islamists, secular rebels battle in Syria over Nusra Front’s call for Islamic state

    Wednesday, March 27, 2013   No comments

Two Syrian rebel groups – one seeking an elected civil government, the other favoring the establishment of a religious state – are battling each other in the city of Tal Abyad, on the border with Turkey, in a sign of the tensions that are likely to rule this country if the government of President Bashar Assad falls.
Four people were killed Sunday in fighting here between the Farouq Battalions, which favors elections, and Jabhat al Nusra, or the Nusra Front, which the United States has declared an al Qaida-affiliated terrorist group. Since then, Farouq has been massing men here in an example of the growing friction that’s emerged in recent months as Nusra has captured strategic infrastructure across Syria’s north and east, including oil and gas installations, grain silos and a hydroelectric dam.
Raqqa province, where Tal Abyad is, and Hasaka province, to the east, are poverty-stricken but vital to Syria’s agriculture. Hasaka and Deir el Zour province to the south are the center of the country’s oil industry.
“They want to control the border crossing here,” said Abu Mansour, a member of Farouq in Tal Abyad. Like other rebels, he uses a nom de guerre to hide his identity from the government.

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Ed Isr

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