A fighter of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) fires an anti-aircraft weapon from Tel Tawil village in the direction of Islamic State fighters positioned in the countryside of the town of Tel Tamr February 25, 2015, Syria. REUTERS/Rodi Said
(Reuters) – One of the main western-backed rebel groups announced on Sunday that it had dissolved itself and joined a larger Islamist alliance, weeks into a battle which saw it lose ground and men to more powerful al Qaeda insurgents.
Hazzm is one of the last remnants of non-jihadist opposition to President Bashar al-Assad in northern Syria, much of which has been seized by the Nusra Front and Islamic State, an offshoot of al Qaeda that controls roughly a third of Syria.
The statement posted online said its fighters would join the Shamiyah Front, an alliance of Islamist brigades in Aleppo, to prevent further bloodshed.
The decision comes after heavy weekend fighting between it and the Nusra Front, al Qaeda’s official Syria wing. Both Hazzm, which is part of the Free Syria Army collection of mainstream rebel groups, and Nusra fight the government.
Hazzm has received what it describes as small amounts of military aid from foreign states opposed to Assad, including U.S.-made anti-tank missiles. But it has lost ground to better armed and financed jihadists…