World Bulletin / News Desk
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has reportedly pulled out of a key Turkmen town in the Syrian coastal city of Lazkiya.
The town of Bayirbucak had been under their control since last year, where they often engaged rival opposition group, the Free Syria Army in a number of clashes, resulting in deaths on both sides.
The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), 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 al-Assad.
On Friday, ISIL - which alienated many rebels by seizing territory and killing rival commanders - finished withdrawing from the Idlib and Latakia provinces and moved its forces toward the eastern Raqqa province and the eastern outskirts of the northern city of Aleppo, activists said.
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 ISIL forces.
ISIL, which draws strength from a core of experienced foreign fighters, was initially welcomed in many rebel-controlled areas because of its fighting prowess and reputation for being relatively free of corruption.
The group later alienated many residents with a drive to implement a strict interpretation of Islamic law, but has also maintained sympathy in some areas because of its reputation for keeping looting and thievery in check.
"There's been an uneasy calm on all sides" since the withdrawal of ISIL forces, one activist from Idlib province said. "Civilians aren't celebrating because ISIL had eliminated thieves and bandits."
The Observatory's director Rami Abdulrahman said ISIL had been weakened by clashes and defections in the areas it had withdrawn from, but still had control over Raqqa province and plenty of resources to draw on.
'Nikki Haley, the blood is on your hands!', one student shouted during her speech at a Texas university
Israel's West Bank settlements are illegal under international law and are bitterly opposed by Palestinians.
In a joint statement, the G7 leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United States, along with the European Union, said they "are united in rejecting the electoral process" that led to the May 20 ballot.
An Iraqi refugee baby died as Belgian police was chasing a vehicle carrying illegal migrants
'If it doesn’t happen, maybe it will happen later,' American president says
Haidar al-Abadi says agreement reached with winning coalition bloc
Controversial picture of Haram al-Sharif circulates on social media
International court responds to Palestinian foreign minister's request
Lava flows from Kilauea destroy warehouse at major geothermal plant while others reach Pacific Ocean
Jafar Farah was arrested in Haifa last weekend after taking part in pro-Gaza demonstration
ISIL terrorists, Iraqi forces exchange blows south of Mosul, according to local security source
Restrictions on movement of patients, medicines are 'illegal, inhumane and unacceptable': Health Ministry official
US will do anything to prevent Iran's 'malicious activities' in region, Pentagon spokesman says
Since March 30, more than 110 Palestinians were killed by Israeli gunfire in Gaza
Mahmoud Abbas visits hospital three times in one week, raising speculation about state of his health