“[The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) emerged on the Syrian battlefield in the spring, and it extended its reach quickly at a time of stalemate in the civil war pitting forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad against a variety of rebels. The group seized towns in Syria’s north and east, and its black-and-white flag quickly began to appear on everything from court buildings to children’s school bags. … Among those fighting ISIL are groups formerly under the banner of the Free Syrian Army, whose Western-backed Supreme Military Council has been left with little influence over forces on the ground.” Read more here.
“Rebel groups last week launched what appeared to be a series of coordinated strikes against ISIL in northern and eastern Syria after months of increasing tensions with the group, which has alienated many Syrians in rebel-held regions. The fighting was endorsed by the opposition’s mainstream National Coalition, which is backed by Western and Gulf states.”
“ISIL aired a series of confessions [outlining] meetings between leaders of competing Islamist groups and US intelligence agencies … This forced some of these factions, such as Ahrar al-Sham, to admit to meeting US Ambassador Robert Ford, though they insist the meeting was not directed against any fundamentalist faction.”