Rebel fighters from the Ahrar al-Sham Islamic Movement prepare their weapons in Jabal al-Arbaeen, which overlooks the northern town of Ariha, one of the last government strongholds in the Idlib province May 26, 2015. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi
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Brothers Abu Eliyas and Abu Yousef have fought at completely opposite ends of the insurgency against Syrian President Bashar Assad. One is a member of a rebel group that was once backed by the CIA. Russia expects Turkey to bring about a separation of insurgents, with "radical" rebels to leave a newly created demilitarized zone at the frontline with government forces by Monday.BATTLING ASSAD'S FORCESThe experiences of Abu Yousef and Abu Eliyas illustrate that the line between the "radical" and "moderate" rebels is not always easily drawn.Both fought Daesh when it attacked eastern Syria in 2014 and went north with their family when Daesh conquered the area.Failaq al-Sham has ties to the Syrian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, which mounted an uprising in the 1980s and is deemed a terrorist group by the government.The brothers have always stayed out of these troubles, though enmity runs deep between the extremists and some Idlib rebels.Rebels formed a joint "operations room" in anticipation of an offensive by Syrian government forces that had been expected until Turkey and Russia struck their agreement last month.
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