The Nusra Front on Sunday seized the stronghold of the Syrian Rebel Front — one of the largest armed forces in the Syrian opposition — in the al-Zawiya mountain area in Idleb, in the northwest of the country.
The seizure comes a week after the outbreak of fighting between the two parties in this region, at a time when the leader of the SRF, Jamal Maarouf, accused Nusra of serving the regime of Bashar al-Assad.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the Nusra Front seized the town of Deir Sunbul, the main stronghold of the SRF, and the majority of the villages and towns in the al-Zawiya mountain area have fallen under control of the Nusra Front. Dozens of the SRF fighters defected and joined Nusra, in addition to a number of ISIS fighters who arrived individually to support Nusra.
The director of the Observatory, Rami Abdel Rahman, told AFP that "the clashes stopped this morning, after Nusra seized Deir Sunbul", pointing out that Nusra has "seized the weapons of Syria Rebels, including their tanks".
The main reason for these clashes, which began on October 26 and lasted for two days, is unknown. The two parties reached an agreement to deploy a "peace force" consisting of 15 factions in the al-Zawiya mountain area. However, clashes broke out again between the two parties before deploying the force.
Fighters with the Syria Rebel Front are known for their support for a secular and democratic Syria and for their critical attitude towards the Islamic Brigades.
Translated and edited by The Syrian Observer