Almost 50 fighters have been killed in three days of skirmishes between jihadists and mainstream rebels in the Syria’s second city of Aleppo.
The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Saturday that the violence began on Thursday between militants of the al-Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and a battalion linked to the Arab and Western-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA), both of which are fighting to overthrow Syria’s embattled President Bashar al-Assad.
“At least 30 fighters from the Ababil Brigade and 14 from ISIL have been killed in combat, and that toll could rise further,” the Observatory’s Rami Abdel Rahman said, according to AFP.
Rahman said that fighting broke out in several district of the city, with ISIL making gains in several areas.
Since July last year, Aleppo’s east district has been held by the rebels, and the west has been held by forces loyal to Assad.
Violence has for some time plagued Syria’s biggest cities.
On Friday, Syrian army troops and pro-Assad Shiite fighters killed at least 70 people as they captured two southern suburbs of Damascus.
The conflict in Syria began in March 2011, when peaceful protests calling for political change were met with a massive crackdown from the Syrian regime.
It has since developed into an all-out war with many fragmented opposition groups, with ongoing violence forcing millions of people to flee their homes.