Dozens killed in fighting among jihadists in Syria

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Dozens of fighters have been killed in two days of fighting between rival jihadist factions in northwestern Syria, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported on Tuesday.

The fighting has pitted a jihadist group seen as ideologically close to Islamic State - Jund al-Aqsa - against a newly formed jihadist alliance spearheaded by a faction that was once al Qaeda’s official affiliate in the war.

The jihadist alliance - Tahrir al-Sham - has captured at least six villages from Jund al-Aqsa since Monday, the Observatory reported. Their power struggle is focused in northern areas of Hama province and adjoining areas of Idlib.

Tahrir al-Sham was formed last month from an alliance of factions including Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, known as the Nusra Front until it formally severed ties with al Qaeda last year.

The Observatory said the death toll on both sides so far stood at 69.

Writing by Tom Perry; Editing by Gareth Jones