Militant fighters of the Islamic State are seen during clashes with Nusra Front fighters in western Qalamoun. Photo: Amaq
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QALAMOUN – At least 17 militants of the Nusra Front (Syria’s branch of al-Qaeda) were killed during clashes with the radical group the Islamic State (ISIS) in western Qalamoun near Syria’s capital Damascus, local sources reported on Tuesday.
“The Nusra Front launched a surprise attack on ISIS strongholds in the valleys of az-Zamrani and Martiba in the western Qalamoun near the Lebanese border, led to the outbreak of fierce clashes between the two sides. The clashes continued until Tuesday midnight,” media activist Yasser Hussein told ARA News in Qalamoun.
“ISIS was able to repel the Nusra attack, killing 17 militants of the Nusra and injuring over a dozen more, forcing it to retreat from the region,” Hussein reported, citing pro-ISIS military sources.
On the other hand, sources close to ISIS confirmed that at least 12 militants from ISIS were killed during the clashes, including the group’s military commander in Qalamoun”Abu Azzam”.
Over the past few days, the areas in western Qalamoun witnessed fierce battles between the two radical groups, especially after the Nusra Front, along with other rebel factions, waged a military campaign against ISIS in the area in a bid to eliminate its presence in the region.
The Nusra Front is leading a united militant entity in Idlib province and the Qalamoun Hights under the banner of al-Fatih Army ــwhich has made a significant progress at the expense of pro-regime forces, especially in Idlib.
In 2015, the leadership of al-Nusra Front called on Syrian rebel factions in Damascus to unify under one military entity similar to al-Fatih Army in Idlib and Qalamoun.
Reporting by: Haytham Nassar
Source: ARA News