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Syrian Rebels Urge Rivals to End Infighting

A Free Syrian Army fighter carries his weapon as he walks down the stairs of the damaged former Immigration and Passport building in Aleppo, Oct. 2, 2013.
Several powerful Syrian rebel groups Thursday demanded al-Qaida-linked militants and a Western-backed opposition faction end their infighting in northern Syria, and called on the hardline Islamists to withdraw their forces within two days.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said those that signed the appeal included the Islamic Army, the Tawheed Brigade and the Ahrar al-Sham group, which are all affiliated with the Western-backed Free Syrian Army alliance.

The al-Qaida-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant last month seized the town of Azaz, about five kilometers from the frontier with Turkey, and repeatedly have clashed with the FSA's Northern Storm Brigade since then.

A previous attempt by rebel groups to broker a truce between the two sides did not hold.

Rebel divisions have hurt the fight against President Bashar al-Assad's better equipped and organized forces in the bloody conflict.

Meanwhile, international inspectors in Syria pressed ahead with their efforts to oversee the destruction of the Syrian governments' chemical weapons arsenal.

Their mission, endorsed by the U.N. Security Council, stems from a deadly August 21 attack on opposition-held Damascus suburbs in which the U.N. determined the nerve agent sarin was used. The U.S. and its allies accuse the Syrian government of being responsible for the attack, while Damascus blames the rebels.

The U.S. has said the attack killed 1,400 people.