Al-Masdar has received information from local activists reporting that ferocious fighting between two terrorist groups has killed scores of terrorist fighters from both sides including several top commanders.
The fighting broke out between the FSA linked jihadist group Liwa al-Tawheed and the al-Qaeda affiliate/offshoot Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham.
The fighting is due to several factors. Turkey’s concentration on fighting and restraining advances of Kurdish forces has led Ankara to at least temporarily halt some Turkish coordination of jihadist groups who had previously been fighting the Syrian Arab Army.
Secondly, the Qatar crisis has led to a bifurcation in Gulfi money that traditionally went to a myriad of similar groups. As the resources from the Gulf decrease their inflow to Syria, many terrorist groups that once were allied or took a neutral stance towards one another have found themselves fighting over territory and the resources therein.
Finally, it must be remembered that these groups are not now and nor have they ever been organised armies. They are generally a cobbled together, rag-tag group of volunteers turned paid mercenaries living off a combination of inconsistent foreign funds and whatever they can pillage locally. It is as much a matter of bandits fighting over resources as it is about terrorist groups fighting for prestige and influence.
As the Syrian war slowly but surely winds down, such battles could be an increasingly common occurrence.