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Syria conflict continues amid refugee crisis

English.news.cn   2014-07-04 12:26:50
 • The ongoing Syria crisis shows no signs of abating with infighting among rebel groups intensifying.
 • Syrian troops have been making progress, largely in central and southern Syria.
• A UN spokesman said the Syrian refugee crisis is fast becoming the world's largest displacement.

 

DAMASCUS, July 4 (Xinhua) -- The ongoing Syria crisis, which began more than three years ago, shows no signs of abating, with infighting among rebel groups intensifying and the humanitarian situation worsening.

INFIGHTING AMONG "JIHADISTS"

"Jihadist" groups, the major power fighting the government troops of President Bashar al-Assad, have engaged in infighting that has claimed the lives of 7,000 rebels and civilians since the beginning of this year.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), strongest among the rebel groups, has already announced the establishment of its Islamic State in areas under its control in Syria and Iraq, as the organization has seized large chunks of territories from both countries in recent months.

Its latest major seizure is the al-Omar oil field, the biggest in eastern Syria, after rival fighters from the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front withdrew.

"We took it (the oil field) over without any fighting. They fled like rats," an ISIL commander said in a subsequent video on YouTube.

The oil field, with a production capacity of 75,000 barrels a day, was captured by the rebels last November after clashes with the Syrian military.

Two days earlier, ISIL captured the key town of Bukamal in Deir al-Zour on the borders with Iraq. The group has also advanced into other nearby towns after other "jihadist" groups pledged alliance to it.

ISIL is the richest "jihadist" organization in the world, according to a recent report by the pan-Arab al-Mayadeen TV. ISIL's budget equals that of a small country as it now controls a majority of the oil fields in eastern and northern Syria.

Aside from dues their loyalists pay regularly, ISIL also looted a total of 425 million U.S. dollars from banks in Iraq's al-Mosul city after storming it last month.

The report said the organization has been receiving funds over the past 10 years from rich people and organizations in Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. ISIL's overall wealth now exceeds two billion dollars.

As ISIL grows more resourceful, observers believe that the infighting between this al-Qaida splinter group and other "jihadist" groups, which have rejected alliance with ISIL, will escalate.

SYRIAN GOVERNMENT FORCES' ADVANCEMENT

Taking advantage of the rebel-on-rebel battles, Syrian troops have been making progress, largely in central and southern Syria, stripping the rebels of key territories in central Syria's Homs province and elsewhere in the country.

The Syrian air force is also striking rebel positions in eastern and northern Syria, mainly Deir al-Zour and Aleppo provinces, but not on the same scale as its larger operations in central and southern Syria.

Apparently, the Syrian troops' tactic is to secure key areas in central and southern Syria in addition to the Syrian coast while the rebels in eastern and northern Syria are busy with their infighting.

Still, the Syrian troops frequently unleash attacks to strip the rebels of their positions in the north, mainly in Aleppo.

On Thursday, Syrian government forces fully recaptured an industrial city in Aleppo, according to al-Mayadeen TV. The city is in the Sheikh Najjar area on the eastern outskirts of Aleppo city, and was recaptured after clashes with jihadist groups, mainly the Nusra Front. The army is also advancing into other areas in Sheikh Najjar as rebels withdrew from that part of the city.

Activists said that Syrian troops carried out more than 20 airstrikes against the city to dislodge the rebels there.

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Editor: Liu
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