Fighting between Jihadist groups ISIL and the Al-Nusra killed 63 people in Eastern Syria on Monday despite the al-Qaeda chief’s call for a ceasefire, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
The clashes between the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the Al-Nusra Front have prompted over 60,000 people to abandon their homes in the oil-rich region. On Monday, 5 civilians and 58 fighters were killed in clashes between the two sides, the Observatory said. The clash brings the death toll to 150 since the latest confrontation between them started last week in Deir Ezzor, which borders Iraq.
The clashes started after moderate and Islamist rebels, who were later joined by the al-Nusra, launched their offensive against the ISIL earlier in the year. The ISIL has been criticized by many rebel groups for its abuses of rival opposition groups and civilians, while the Al-Nusra has been accepted by many rebels as an ally.
The fighting has killed about 4,000 people, the Britain-based Observatory said. The clashes have continued despite al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri’s call last week to end all hostilities and focus on fighting the Syrian regime. He also repeated his call for the ISIL to restrict all of its activities to Iraq, a plea which the group has rejected on multiple occasions.
The Al-Nusra responded to Zawahiri’s call, saying that it would stop the fighting if the ISIL stopped its attacks. “We will follow the orders of… Ayman al-Zawahiri… to stop any attack from our side against ISIL, while continuing to respond whenever they attack Muslims and all that is sacred to them. As soon as ISIL announces the end of its attacks on Muslims, we will spontaneously stop firing”, it said in its statement, adding that it fought the ISIL in “areas where it was on the attack”.