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.
Keywords: Syria unrest, ISIS, Islamic State, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, Shia-Sunni clashes, al-Qaeda, Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi