The Syria branch of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has put fighting on hold in Syria while it brings in weapons seized inside neighbouring Iraq, a monitoring group that tracks the violence said on Friday.
ISIL, a Sunni Islamist splinter of al Qaeda, has battled rival rebel groups in Syria for months and clashed occasionally with President Bashar al-Assad’s forces.
But its fighters appear to hold back in Syria this week, especially in their eastern stronghold near the Iraqi border, while their Iraqi wing was making rapid military gains.
Rami Abdulrahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said that ISIL may have negotiated a truce with rival rebel brigades in Syria, although it was still laying siege to parts of the eastern city of Deir al-Zor, where Assad’s forces and al Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front rebels are also dug in. …
He said that ISIL, Sunni Islamists who have surged out of north Iraq to menace Baghdad and want to establish their own medieval-style state spanning Iraq and Syria, have moved weapons into eastern Syria.
“Our people saw weapons on the road in Syria,” he said.
Photos posted on social media by ISIL supporters also appear to show military equipment, including American Humvee patrol cars, being moved.