Islamic State Seizes New Territory from Syrian Rebels near Turkish Border

“Islamic State (IS) has seized new territory from rebels in northern Syria, advancing in an area where Turkey and the United States are planning to open a new front against the militant group. The ultra-radical Islamist group and a monitor said it seized several villages as it stepped up an offensive in northern Aleppo province, in a blow to rebels who are likely partners for Ankara and Washington in any ground campaign. In an attack that began on Wednesday night, IS militants also mostly encircled the rebel-held town of Marea, some 20 kilometres from the border, the group and a rebel commander in the area said. “If its progress continues, the northern countryside of Aleppo could fall,” the rebel told Reuters news agency. “If Marea falls, it means the fall of an important symbol of the groups fighting Daesh (IS),” he said.”

“The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based group tracking the war, said IS seized five villages, including two near the Turkish border, from Syrian insurgents. Islamic State announced it captured three villages in the area and said its fighters had nearly encircled the rebel-held town of Marea, some 20 kilometres south of the Turkish border. Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said the two NATO allies would soon launch “comprehensive” air operations to flush IS fighters from the border region.” (Coordination Cell)



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