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Syria: Al-Qaeda splinter group routed in eastern province

last update: February 10, 17:55

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Deir ez-Zor, 10 Feb. (AKI) - Al-Qaeda's official Syrian wing and other rebels has driven the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) jihadist splinter group from eastern Deir ez-Zor province, opposition activists said Monday.

ISIS's exit from oil-rich Deir ez-Zor, which borders Iraq and is the main entry point to Syria for arms and fighters from Iraq, is the latest in a series of military defeats inflicted on the group in recent weeks .

The rout followed three days of violent clashes with the Al-Nusra Front and other rebel groups, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

In a message posted to jihadist websites on 3 February, Al-Qaeda disowned ISIS, which has has been locked in deadly clashes with other Syrian rebel groups since last May.

The clashes broke out after Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri rejected an attempt by the group to merge with the terror network's official branch the Al-Nusra Front in Syria.

The move was also rejected by Al-Nusra leader Abu Mohammed al-Julani.

Besides attacking fellow rebels, including secular ones, ISIS's mainly foreign fighters have have also been condemned for abuses against civilian supporters of the opposition.

Iraq-based ISIS follows Al-Qaeda's hardline ideology and, until the 3 February disavowal, the two groups were widely believed to be linked.

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