Scores Die as Rebel Factions Fight in Aleppo
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Clashes between rival rebel factions left at least 44 fighters dead in battles to control neighbourhoods in the city of Aleppo, a source announced.
The three days of fighting was between al-Qaeda's Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS) and a rival group formerly known as Ghurabaa al-Sham.
The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Saturday 14 of the dead belonged to ISIS, which was able to control three neighbourhoods in Aleppo, Al Jazeera reported.
Rebel groups have become increasingly fractured, and enabling fighters linked to al-Qaeda to assume prominent roles in battle.
In an audio message on Friday, the leader of al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahri, urged fighters in Syria to "rise above organisational loyalties and party partisanship'' to unite and set up an Islamic state.
He suggested he would not impose unity, saying that "what you agree upon will also be our choice".
Two al-Qaeda-linked groups have emerged; Jabhat al-Nusra and ISIS. The first is commanded by a Syrian, the second by an Iraqi, but both are believed to be loyal to Zawahri.
Meanwhile, a child was killed and several people injured after two mortar shells hit Syria's capital near a hotel where international chemical weapons inspectors and United Nations staff are staying, state media and a hotel guest said on Saturday.
The blasts in the upscale Abu Roumaneh area of Damascus killed an eight-year-old girl and wounded 11 other people, the SANA news agency said.