Residents walk along a damaged street in Deir al-Zor, eastern Syria February 9, 2014. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi
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An Al-Qaeda splinter group has withdrawn its forces from Syria's oil-rich eastern province of Deir al-Zor, activists and rebels said on Monday, after days of heavy fighting with its rivals.Rebel groups, including Al-Qaeda's Syrian affiliate the Nusra Front, have been battling the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) for control of towns and oilfields in the area, sparking a spate of car bombs in the province. Several rebel groups launched a campaign last month to try to push ISIS forces, their former allies, out of opposition-held regions in northern and eastern Syria.ISIS, which has attracted many foreign Islamist militants into its ranks, is a small but powerful fighting force in Syria's opposition areas.Efforts to mediate between ISIS and other rebel groups, even Islamist forces with similar religious views, have failed.
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