Opposition fighters including members of Al-Nusra Front launched an attack on Saturday against Islamic State of Iraq and As-Sham (ISIS) militants to retake control of the city of Abu Kamal on Syria’s eastern border with Iraq. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Al-Nusra Front and the Islamic Brigades sent reinforcements to Abu Kamal after violent clashes erupted between Islamic Brigades fighters and some Al-Nusra militants who had pledged allegiance to ISIS.
Last Wednesday, Al-Nusra Front Victory, the official arm of Al-Qaeda in Syria, swore allegiance to ISIS, which seeks to control both sides of the Syria-Iraq border. The Observatory pointed out that several Front elements refused to change sides and joined fighters from other Islamic Brigades in an attack against the city. They were able to control two centres belonging to ISIS and the breakaway Al-Nusra faction.
Abu Kamal is located on the border with Iraq in the Syrian oil-rich province of Deir ez-Zor. Experts believe that ISIS is seeking to establish an “Islamic state” in Iraq and Syria including the province. It has been waging a major offensive in Iraq for more than two weeks and taken control of large areas in the north and west.
The Observatory noted that fierce battles between ISIS and other groups from the Syrian opposition, including Al-Nusra Front, started in January and have led to the deaths of more than six thousand people.
It also pointed out that dozens were wounded in a car bomb explosion in the Syrian town of Duma, north-east of Damascus, yesterday. A video posted online showed a car burning; activists say that the incident occurred near a busy market in Duma. The Observatory said that dozens were killed or wounded but there were no immediate reports about the incident in the Syrian media.