Syria battle between al Qaeda and Western-backed group spreads

BEIRUT – Fighting between the Syrian arm of al Qaeda and Western-backed rebels in northern Syria spread from Aleppo province into neighbouring Idlib on Friday, the rebel group and an organization monitoring the civil war said.

Clashes began on Thursday when the al Qaeda Syria wing, the Nusra Front, seized positions from the Hazzm movement west of Aleppo, threatening one of the few remaining pockets of the non-jihadist insurgency. A Hazzm official said by telephone clashes had spread to Idlib and that his group had retaken some areas previously controlled by Nusra. “There is now fighting in Idlib, in the Jabal al-Zawiya area,” he said. He said in Aleppo province, the two groups were also fighting in Atarib, a town 20 km (12 miles) from the Turkish border.



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