News / Middle East

    Al-Qaida Splinter Group Moves to Take Eastern Syrian City

    Men ride bicycles past a damaged mosque along a deserted street filled with debris in Deir al-Zor, Syria, March 5, 2014.
    Men ride bicycles past a damaged mosque along a deserted street filled with debris in Deir al-Zor, Syria, March 5, 2014.
    Reuters
    An al-Qaida splinter group has wrested control of key parts of the eastern Syrian province of Deir al-Zor from other rebel groups, activists said on Sunday, worsening infighting that has handicapped the insurgency against President Bashar al-Assad.

    More than 100,000 civilians have fled the province following weeks of intense clashes between Islamist insurgents, the anti- Assad Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said.

    Civilians in Deir al-Zor lived through more than two years of fighting between opposition fighters and the government. Now they are dealing with a second wave of internecine war that has devastated parts of the country that the opposition considers ``liberated'' from Assad's forces.

    The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) – which started as an offshoot of al-Qaida in Iraq but has since been disowned - took neighborhoods of Deir al-Zor city from the Nusra Front, Syria's official al-Qaida affiliate, this weekend, according to the Observatory.

    Some 230 militants have been killed over the past 10 days by the infighting, it added. Although ISIL made headway in the fight for Deir al-Zor, opposition groups rarely hold territory for long before clashes resume.

    More than 150,000 people have been killed in the three-year-old rebellion, which started as a peaceful protest movement and turned into a civil war after a government crackdown.

    World powers have been deadlocked over how to resolve the conflict, further complicated by deadly feuding between rebel groups that has killed thousands of fighters this year.

    The fighting centers around villages on the outskirts of Deir al-Zor where rebel groups have been fighting each other for control of oilfields and strategic areas.

    In Syria's conflict, clashes tend to be highly localized and, when it suits their aims, the Nusra Front and ISIL have fought side by side in some areas.

    ISIL is a rebranding of al-Qaida in Iraq, which fought against American forces during the U.S. occupation. It draws strength from a core of foreign fighters and has imposed a strict interpretation of Islamic law in territories it controls.

    The Nusra Front imposes similar laws but the two groups have come to blows over power and land disputes.

    You May Like

    US Leaders Who Served in Vietnam War Look Back and Ahead

    In New York Times opinion piece, Secretary of State John Kerry, Senator John McCain and former Senator Bob Kerrey say as US strengthens relations with Vietnam, it is important to remember lessons learned from war

    Who Are US Allies in Fight Against Islamic State?

    There is little but opportunism keeping coalition together analysts warn — SDFs Arab militias are not united even among themselves, frequently squabble and don’t share Kurds' vision for post-Assad Syria

    Learning Foreign Language Helps US Soldiers Bridge Culture Gap

    Effective interaction with local populations part of everyday curriculum at Monterey, California, Defense Language Institute

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora