Al Qaeda-linked militants in Syria have declared an offensive against two other militant groups amid growing infighting among foreign-backed militants operating in the country.
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has accused the Farouq and Nasr Battalions of attacking its forces and suggested they may have even collaborated with the Syrian government, Reuters news agency reported.
“ISIL in the eastern district of Aleppo announces the launch of the military offensive 'Cleansing Evil',” the group said in a statement on Thursday posted online.
“We will target regime collaborators, shabbiha (pro-regime militias), and those who blatantly attacked the Islamic State - in particular, the Farouq and Nasr Battalions. Their cowardly involvement and incitement has been proven,” the statement added.
According to the statement, the two militant groups had collaborated with the Syrian army in an attack that killed two of ISIL's leaders.
Al-Qaeda-linked groups, including ISIL and al-Nusra Front, have fought deadly battles with other militant groups operating in Syria several times since the beginning of the unrest in the Arab country more than two years ago.
Syria has been gripped by deadly unrest since 2011. According to reports, the Western powers and their regional allies -- especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey -- are supporting the militants operating inside Syria.
According to the United Nations, more than 100,000 people have been killed and a total of 7.8 million of others displaced due to the violence.