DAMASCUS, Jan. 11 (Xinhua) -- At least 40 rebels were killed on Saturday by the Syrian troops in the country's northern province of Aleppo, the official SANA news agency said.
More than 40 "terrorists," most of whom are foreigners, were killed in a "special operation" carried out by the Syrian regular forces in Retyan village in the northern countryside of Aleppo, said SANA.
The rebels have been losing their momentum recently as they have become plagued with infighting between those who showcase themselves as "moderate" rebels and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Friday that the infighting that erupted between rebel groups in Syria have killed 500 people.
The battles started last Friday between various rebel groups and so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), said the Observatory, adding that the death toll includes 85 civilians, 240 rebels from various groups and 157 fighters from the ISIL.
Several Islamist battalions have recently turned against the powerful ISIL, which has recently declared the establishment of an Islamic emirate in Iraq' s Fallujah province.
Observers believe that many rebel groups turned against the ISIL due to the large swathes of land it has claimed recently in northern Syria. Also, they want to burnish their image and show that they are "moderate" ahead of the Geneva II peace conference on the Syrian crisis.
Haitham Mana'a, a moderate opposition leader, told the pan-Arab al-Mayadeen TV recently that there are no ideological difference between the ISIL and other armed groups in Syria, noting that the war among the rebel groups "will neither be easy nor end soon."
Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi said in a press conference last week that all the rebel groups, regardless of their names and what is happening between them, are "terrorist groups."