Al-Qaida is losing ground in Syria for the first time since its meteoric rise in 2012

Al-Qaida’s branch in Syria is in retreat for the first time since 2012 after battling both rival militant groups on several fronts, as well as President Bashar Al-Assad’s forces.

Over the past three weeks, the extremist group has been driven from nearly all of the northern province of Aleppo, losing dozens of fighters in battles there and in nearby Idlib province.

The fighting poses a major challenge to the militant group, already beset by infighting and a string of assassinations that have taken out some of its top leaders.