Infighting rages on between al-Qaeda-linked groups near a Syrian town on the border with Iraq, reports say.
Militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) attacked positions held by rival al-Nusra Front and its allies around the town of Albu Kamal on Thursday, opposition sources said.
Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the so-called Observatory for Human Rights, said there has been fierce fighting near the town, adding, “ISIL is advancing and has taken control of several neighborhoods of the town which were previously held by al-Nusra Front.”
A commander from the so-called Free Syrian Army said the foreign-backed group continued to control the border crossing to the Iraqi town of al-Qaim.
“ISIL are attacking our positions in Albu Kamal, and the battles since yesterday (Wednesday) are in three different areas about 15 km from the centre of the city. The battles are still continuing,” he added.
Albu Kamal has been controlled by foreign-backed militants since November 2012. Al-Nusra Front and its allies foiled ISIL attacks on the town earlier this year.
Syria has been witnessing violence since March 2011. Reports indicate that Western powers and their regional allies — especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey — are supporting the militants operating inside Syria.
Over 150,000 people have reportedly been killed and millions displaced due to the violence fueled by Western-backed militants.