Militant opponents of Syrian President Bashar Assad's government might be banding together into an al-Qaida faction more radical in its views than the al-Nusra Front, another group tied to the terror organization, U.S. and Western intelligence insiders said in comments quoted by the New York Times on Friday.
The "Islamic State in Iraq and Syria" reportedly would bring together Syrian extremists with combatants from Chechnya, Egypt, Iraq, Pakistan and Western countries.
Legislators in Washington fear that planned U.S. weapon shipments will not reach Western-backed opposition forces soon enough to give them an edge in Syria's civil war, which has already claimed more than 100,000 lives.
Meanwhile, a satellite image analysis released on Wednesday provides a before-and-after look at residential areas leveled in the conflict by government ballistic-missile strikes, Amnesty International said in a statement. The organization assisted the American Association for the Advancement of Science in authoring the report.