Sunni extremist group expels jihadi rivals from provincial capital in eastern Syria near Iraq

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BEIRUT — Syrian activists say a Sunni extremist group has taken over opposition-held areas of a provincial capital near the border with Iraq after expelling rival jihadi fighters of an al-Qaida-linked group.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human rights says militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant took over opposition areas in the eastern city of Deir el-Zour on Monday. Fighters of the rival al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front group withdrew from the area after clashes, The Observatory said.

Syria's pro-opposition Masar Press Agency also reported that militants of the Islamic State group seized opposition parts of Deir el-Zour from Nusra Front militants.

Over the past month, the Islamic State group has captured much of the territory in the eastern province and merged it with territory under its control in Iraq.

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