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60,000 flee inter-jihadist battle in east Syria: NGO

Published on May 4, 2014 6:03 AM

BEIRUT (AFP) - Around 60,000 people have fled towns in Deir Ezzor province of eastern Syria that have been the scene of fierce clashes between rival jihadists, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Saturday.

The battle between Al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Nusra Front and the breakaway Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has raged for four days despite an order from Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri to stop fighting.

“Residents of the towns of Busayra, home to 35,000 people, Abriha, home to 12,000 people, and Al-Zir, home to 15,000 people, have nearly all been displaced by the fighting in the area,” said the Britain-based monitoring group.

The monitoring group, which relies on a vast network of contacts on the ground for its data, said Al-Nusra Front’s fighters burnt down several houses in Busayra, as did ISIL in Abriha.

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