Syrian activists said rebel factions affiliated with a powerful tribe in an eastern stronghold of al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate have pledged allegiance to the rival Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS).

In an activist video posted online on Thursday by the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a man is seen reading a statement in which “the people of the town” of Sheheil “swear allegiance” to the extremist group and its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

The group, which was ejected from al-Qaeda earlier this year, recently declared an 'Islamic State' in areas it controls in Syria and Iraq.

Most Syrian rebel groups have rejected the declaration and have fought al-Baghdadi’s militants in towns along the Iraq border, including in Sheheil, a stronghold of the Nusra Front, al-Qaeda’s official Syrian branch.

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