Nusra fighters in the Syrian city of al-Bukamal on the border with Iraq have sworn allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), the organization Nusra was fighting until just a few days ago.
This comes after ISIS took control during recent weeks over large areas in northern and western Iraq, including the town of Qaim and its border crossing. It also comes after ISIS progresses in the province of Deir El-Zor on the other side of the border in eastern Syria.
Meanwhile, battles between the Islamic State andthe Nusra Front continued. An attack was launched by ISIS on Wednesday on the town of Al-Shehel in Deir El-Zor, about a hundred kilometers from Bukamal, which is considered a stronghold for Nusra and the hometown of a number of its leaders.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said in an email that the Nusra faction in Bukamal swore allegiance to ISIS overnight Tuesday, noting that the agreement took place in the area of Rabia on the border with Iraq.
Groups and members in the Islamic State confirmed the news on Twitter.
The head of the Observatory, Rami Abdul Rahman, told AFP that this step between the two organizations fighting in Syria since January allows the Islamic State to be present on both sides of the Syrian-Iraqi borders. "Both organizations are jihadist and extremist. (…) This allegiance will lead to tension with other fighting battalions, including the Islamists", Abdul Rahman said.
Translated and edited by The Syrian Observer