FILE - This undated file image posted on a militant website on Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014 shows fighters from the al-Qaida linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) marching in Raqqa, Syria. (AP Photo/militant website, File)
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An al Qaeda splinter group in Syria pulled out of two provinces in the country's northwest on Friday and headed to its eastern strongholds after months of clashes with rival rebels, activists said.The Islamic State in Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), a former al Qaeda affiliate, and competing insurgents have been fighting since the start of the year, killing over 3,000 people and undermining the revolt against President Bashar Assad. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said the withdrawal was overseen by the Nusra Front, al Qaeda's acknowledged branch in Syria, making the two provinces "completely free" of ISIS forces.The Nusra Front, al Qaeda's Syria branch, has occasionally clashed with ISIS but has also tried to broker truces between ISIS and rival factions and fought alongside the group against government forces in other areas.
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