TODAY’S MESOP WEST KURDISTAN INSIGHT : Rebel Factions Continue Fight Against ISIL in Northern Syria

Fighting between rival rebel factions in northern Syria has continued for a fourth day with major clashes in Raqqa. On Monday, nationalist and fundamentalist factions battling Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) forces retook churches and towns and reportedly released about 50 prisoners. Additionally, the fighters attacked the al Qaeda linked group overnight at its headquarters in Raqqa, which it has controlled for months and, according to some activists, largely evicted ISIL from the city.

In the Jabal al-Zawiya region, rebels captured and killed 34 foreign fighters, mostly from ISIL, according to the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The recent clashes have come as ISIL has overtaken parts of the cities of Fallujah and Ramadi in Iraq’s Anbar province, neighboring Syria. Meanwhile, Iran has rejected a suggestion by the United States that it contribute to a Syrian peace conference from the sidelines” claiming that would not respect the country’s “honor.” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham said, “Iran has always announced its readiness to participate [in the Syria talks] without preconditions.”