"Say hello to my little friend."
The 1,000-strong Dawud Brigade joins
Islamic State as Obama golfs.
Gaziantep, Turkey: A Syrian rebel brigade has defected to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, a sign that the extremist group continues to build strength after seizing vast territories in western Iraq and eastern Syria, anti-government activists said.
|Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-declared |
caliph of the Islamic State, delivers
a sermon in Mosul. Photo: AP
The defecting rebels moved in a convoy of more than 100 vehicles, including 10 tanks that had been seized from the Syrian army, the activists said.
To cross the lines of pro-Western rebels who are fighting ISIL, the defecting rebels said they were heading to Aleppo to confront government forces now attempting to lay siege to rebel-held parts of Syria's biggest city reports The Sydney Morning Herald.
Dawud, with mostly Islamists in its ranks, has a complex history of relations with ISIL, and the impact of its departure from an anti-government umbrella group, the Sham Army, wasn't immediately clear. The big question was whether other groups or individuals would follow suit.
ISIL's leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, has called for Muslims throughout the world to travel to the Islamic caliphate the group has established in the areas of Iraq and Syria it controls.
One Syrian journalist put down Dawud's departure to threats made by other rebel groups that feared the brigade as a potential fifth column that could wreak havoc in an area from which the extremists were thought to have been expelled in January. The Sham Army claimed that it had expelled Dawud.
The journalist, Ammar Abu Shahin, said the expulsion came after ISIL advances in Syria's Deir el-Zour and Aleppo provinces prompted anti-ISIL rebels in Idlib and Hama provinces to look for sleeper cells.
"Frankly speaking, people in the countryside of Idlib are in a real panic about the advancement of the Islamic State," he said.
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|Islam helps you get a-head in life.|