At least 40 fighters from the Nusra Front have joined the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), defecting from the Al-Qaeda wing in Syria to fight the U.S.-led coalition with the mother group, a monitoring body said on Tuesday.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said it was informed that no fewer than 40 fighters from Nusra, including an emir who had retired from fighting, have joined ISIS in recent days, moving to the city of al-Bab city which is one of the main ISIS bastions, northeast of Aleppo in Syria.
The U.S. airstrikes on ISIS bastions have pushed loyalists of the extremist group to fight under its banner, activists said.
ISIS, which declared a 'caliphate' in June in parts of Iraq and Syria under its control, has been cited as a major security threat by Western governments.
Meanwhile, the Islamic State has responded to U.S. attacks by intensifying its assault on the city of Kobani, or Ayn al-Arab, near the Turkish border in northern Syria, where 240,000 civilians have fled in recent days in the fastest exodus of the three-year civil war, according to Reuters.
Translated and edited by The Syrian Observer