Fierce clashes between the Islamic State group and the al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front over the past few days have left dozens of militants dead, with both terror groups suffering heavy casualties. The clashes between ISIS and Nusra militants had begun Sunday and continued till late Tuesday, as per reports, leading to the death of over 60 jihadists.
The ISIS and Nusra Front militants clashed in a town near the Qalamoun mountains at the Syrian-Lebanese border, and the fighting spilt over into Lebanon's Bekaa Valley Monday, according to Reuters. Ten Nusra Front fighters and eight ISIS militants were killed Sunday, while 18 members of the al Qaeda-linked group and 14 Islamic State fighters were killed Monday, according to the report.
According to Syria's ARA News, clashes continued Tuesday, leaving more jihadists dead.
"The Nusra Front launched a surprise attack on ISIS strongholds in the valleys of az-Zamrani and Martiba in the western Qalamoun near the Lebanese border, led to the outbreak of fierce clashes between the two sides," media activist Yasser Hussein told the news agency. "ISIS was able to repel the Nusra attack killing 17 militants of the Nusra and injuring over a dozen more..The clashes continued until Tuesday midnight."
Meanwhile, the monitoring agency Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported ISIS had executed a 15-year-old boy for helping in the escape of a relative who was part of Nusra Front, also referred to as Jabhat al-nusra. The boy was reportedly shot in the Deir Ezzor province.
ISIS, which was the al Qaeda's branch in Iraq, had split from the terror organisation in 2013, and has come to rival it, especially in the Middle East. Last year, al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, who took over the group following the death of Osama bin Laden, had hit out at the Islamic State group's self-proclaimed caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and accused him of "sedition," according to ABC News.
ISIS and Nusra Front have also faced losses due to airstrikes by the US-led coalition and Russian forces in recent months. Last week, the United States said the Islamic State's "finance minister" Abdul Rahman Mustafa al-Qaduli, also known as Haji Imam, was killed in an operation in Syria.