Foreign-sponsored Syrian opposition sources say al-Qaeda-linked militants from the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) have seized the northern Syrian city of Raqqah as infighting among Takfiri groups intensifies in the Arab country.
The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which relies heavily on a network of spies working for the foreign-backed opposition, said on Tuesday that the militants have taken full control of the city following days of clashes with rival Takfiri groups.
The group has been battling a coalition of foreign-backed militants in areas across northern Syria.
The latest development comes as infighting between foreign-backed militants is spreading to other regions as well.
Clashes between militants from the so-called ISIL and their rivals have killed hundreds of people over the past 10 days.
The rise of the al-Qaeda-affiliated group has also worried Western countries ahead of the forthcoming internationally-brokered peace talks aimed at achieving a political solution to the crisis in Syria.
On November 25, 2013, the United Nations set January 22 as the date for the opening of Syria peace conference in the Swiss city of Montreux.
Syria has been gripped by a deadly conflict since 2011. According to the reports, the Western powers and their regional allies - especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey - are supporting the militants operating inside Syria.
According to extracts from a study by British defense consultancy, IHS Jane’s, published in the Daily Telegraph, some 100,000 militants are operating in Syria.
The study added that the militants have split into some 1,000 groups since the crisis began in the country.