Tribesmen force ISIL out of Syria stronghold

People in the villages of Kishkiyeh, Abu Hamam and Granij joined other tribesmen as they forced the self-styled Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) to withdraw from parts of the oil-rich region of Raqqa.

Tribesmen force ISIL out of Syria stronghold

World Bulletin / News Desk

Local tribesmen in the Syrian region of Raqqa have forced the self-styled Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) to withdraw from parts of the region after four days of fighting, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and Turkish-based activist Mustafa Osso reported.

People in the villages of Kishkiyeh, Abu Hamam and Granij joined other tribesmen as they torched the ISIL headquarters in Ashara in retaliation for the detention of three tribesmen, the Observatory said.

The ISIL then reportedly brought in reinforcements from the Iraqi border town of Qaim, but they were forced out of the villages after tribesmen captured the nearby Tanak oil field.

Meanwhile, at least 50 Syrian rebels fighters were killed in an ambush by Syrian government forces in a mountainous area near the Lebanese border on Saturday, activists and security sources said.

Forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad backed by allies from the Lebanese Hezbollah movement have largely pushed opposition fighters from towns and villages in the Qalamoun region bordering Lebanon since March, but some pockets of rebels have held out.

On Saturday, pro-government militias and Hezbollah fighters led an artillery ambush killing "dozens" of rebels, including from the al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front and the self-styled Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), an al Qaeda offshoot, the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The ambush took place around the town of al-Jobeh, around 10 km (6 miles) from the border.

The Observatory's director Rami Abdurrahman said it was not clear exactly how many rebels died in the fighting in the region, but the total was "at least 50".

Lebanese and Syrian security sources put the death toll much higher, saying around 170 rebels were killed, but this could not be independently confirmed. They said nine Syrian government soldiers and two Hezbollah fighters had also died.

Tensions also flared across the border in Lebanon in the Sunni Muslim border town of Arsal, where tens of thousands of Syrian refugees have fled the fighting and violence from the war has often spilled over. Lebanese authorities arrested a Nusra Front leader, Emad Jumaa, at a checkpoint around Arsal, security sources and state media said.

Following the arrest, masked gunmen appeared in the area, Lebanon's National News Agency said, although no clashes were immediately reported.

Syria has been gripped by almost constant fighting since the regime launched a violent crackdown in response to anti-government protests in March 2011, triggering a conflict, which has spiraled into a civil war.

The UN has stopped updating its death toll for the country because an official count had become too difficult to verify. Over 170,000 people have died in the conflict, the Observatory says.

Last Mod: 02 Ağustos 2014, 17:25
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