The al-Qaeda affiliate al-Nusra Front terrorist group in Syria's Maarat al-Nuuman attacked US-backed rebel group Division 13 and confiscated its weapons, the group said in a statement published on social media.
Tensions between al-Nusra and Free Syrian Army affiliates have been rising in recent months. On Friday, al-Nusra supporters attacked a rally of FSA supporters in Maaret al-Nuuman, hijacking the protest. After taking over Division 13 bases overnight on Sunday, the al-Nusra Front reportedly began searching the city for members of the group.
2 versions. Nusra says FSA attacked us first. FSA says we are weaker why would we attack? Nusra attacked us first. pic.twitter.com/6twyLAcdMS— Jenan Moussa (@jenanmoussa) March 13, 2016
The ostensibly secular Division 13 also released a video showing apparent widows of FSA men killed in the conflict protesting against al-Nusra Front at a graveyard.
The two groups previously had a much closer alliance, during which they captured Syria's Idlib province in 2015. However the al-Qaeda affiliate's more radical stance on affairs led to growing tensions, which previously the FSA's iconic propaganda mouthpiece.
Concerns over US weapons supplies to Syria, which have already fallen into the hands of Daesh and al-Nusra Front, were previously voiced when several fighters from the United States' Train and Equip program joined al-Nusra Front. The events were at the time reported as both kidnapping and defection.