The fighting has escalated between Jabhat al-Nusra, the Islamic Front and their allies on the one hand, and the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) on the other, as it reached an unprecedented climax in the past few days, both in terms of expansion and violence.
The battlefields expanded from the countryside of Hassakeh, to the countryside of Deir el-Zour and Maadan, which is between Raqqa and Deir el-Zour. They also covered the town of Jarablos, in the countryside of Aleppo, and the countryside of Latakia. Many killings, assassinations, suicide bombings, executions and mutilations took place during the battles, during which the injured sometimes bled to death without being treated.
One of the probable reasons behind that is that Jabhat al-Nusra has changed its view on the legitimacy of the fighting. While it once considered this fighting a form of “sedition” that must be halted and that it shouldn’t join, after ISIS attacked and gained control of its headquarters and positions in Deir el-Zour last week, Jabhat al-Nusra issued an intense speech that was more a declaration of war. Jabhat al-Nusra was not expected to stand idly by while the fighting reached the city of Deir el-Zour, which the organization considers its capital, particularly after its losses in Raqqa, Hassakeh, and Aleppo. If Deir el-Zour is lost, nothing else would be left for Jabhat al-Nusra.