Beirut: Some 40 fighters from the Nusra Front, Al Qaeda's Syrian affiliate, have joined the Islamic State (IS) Sunni radical group in recent months, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said Tuesday.
The jihadis, including a former emir (leader) and four foreigners, headed to al-Bab, an IS stronghold in northeastern Aleppo. When they arrived, a woman captive was presented to them as a reward for joining the IS.
SOHR added that the new IS fighters stopped taking part in clashes in northern Aleppo Oct 11 and went to Turkey and then returned through Syrian territory towards al-Bab with the aim of joining IS.
IS self-proclaimed a "caliphate" in the areas it controls in Syria and Iraq last June. Around 6,300 fighters joined the organisation in July, including 1,300 foreigners, in the largest intake of recruits since IS was founded in April 2013.
On Sep 23 and 24, 73 men joined IS in northeastern Aleppo after the US-led coalition started its air attacks against the organization.
Since January, IS and Nusra Front have been fighting each other amid reports of growing divisions in the Nusra ranks, as IS continues to make advances through the region.