More than 500 terrorists have been killed, many of them summarily executed, after an infighting spread among the ranks of militant groups in Syria’s Idlib province, pan-Arab al-Mayadeen TV reports.
The infighting broke out on Tuesday after al-Qaeda-linked Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) occupied vast territories held by Turkish-backed NFL militants in the Aleppo province.
The HTS reportedly initiated the fighting after NFL-affiliated Nour al-Din al-Zenki militants killed five of members of the Takfiri group.
Clashes have now spread to Idlib and Hama provinces amid reports that other rival militant factions, including the so-called Free Syrian Army which is backed by Turkey, are joining the fighting.
The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), known to be sympathetic to militant groups in Syria, confirmed the report but put the death toll at around 100.
Al-Mayadeen attributed the high death toll to ambushes and prisoner executions by the warring sides. It said nearly 20 civilians, including three children, have also been killed in the skirmishes.
Videos have emerged showing some of the rival terrorist groups’ casualties and captives.
The clashes come as Turkish troops and militant groups under their protection are digging heels in the territories under their control after President Donald Trump decided to pull out US forces in Syria.
On Friday, a Qatari newspaper cited a source at the Kurdish-administered city council in Dayr al-Zawr as saying that a convoy of nearly 100 trucks had withdrawn US military vehicles and equipment from the eastern town.
Al-Ra’yah said militants with the US-backed SDF group have said the convoy is heading to the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region in Iraq through the northeastern Syrian province of Hasakah.
Earlier this week, American forces reportedly evacuated from a military base in al-Hasakah.