Syria

100,000 people flee militant infighting in E Syria

362106_Syria-Homs

Over 100,000 civilians have fled fierce fighting between militant groups in Syria’s eastern province of Deir Ezzor, opposition sources say.

The so-called Observatory for Human Rights said on Saturday that the fighting between al-Qaeda-linked groups of al-Nusra Front and the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) had also killed 230 militants over the past 10 days.

The oil-rich province of Deir Ezzor that borders Iraq has been the scene of fierce clashes between the two militant groups since late April.

The clashes in the area flared up again after ISIL militants advanced into the region following a withdrawal in February.

Meanwhile, thousands of people returned to the city of Homs for the first time in about two years after foreign-backed militants surrendered their stronghold to the Syrian army.

The safe exit of militants from Homs was part of a deal reached between the militants and the Syrian government on May 4.

The deal was mediated by the United Nations, Russia and Iran and would bring almost all major districts of the city under the control of government forces.

The deal also required the militants to allow aid into two northwestern towns of Kafr Nabl and al-Zahraa. The militants also agreed to release dozens of soldiers and civilians held hostage.

Syria has been gripped by deadly violence since March 2011. Over 150,000 people have reportedly been killed and millions displaced due to the violence fueled by the foreign-backed militants.

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