Rebels retake two Syrian towns from ISIS

2015-11-21 17:24
Rebel fighters sit on top of a tank as they head to the front line of battles against Syrian pro-government forces, near the city of Hama. (Abu Hadi Al-Hamwi, AFP)

Rebel fighters sit on top of a tank as they head to the front line of battles against Syrian pro-government forces, near the city of Hama. (Abu Hadi Al-Hamwi, AFP)

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Beirut - Syrian opposition rebels on Saturday regained two northern villages close to the Turkish border from Islamic State, in a setback to the extremist militia, a monitoring group reported.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that the recapture of the villages of Dalhah and Harjala on the northern outskirts of the Aleppo province followed heavy fighting between rebels and Islamic State insurgents.

"This is an important development because it shows that Islamic State is losing ground in areas near the Syrian-Turkish border," the Observatory's head Rami Abdel-Rahman told dpa.

No casualties were reported.

Islamic State has advanced in areas held by moderate rebels in the countryside of Aleppo, including the villages of Dalhah and Harjala since August.

In recent months, the al-Qaeda splinter group has made territorial gains in several parts of Syria.

A US-led coalition and Russia have separately stepped up airstrikes against Islamic State in Syria in the past weeks, after the radical group claimed responsibility for a series of attacks around the world.

At least 36 people were killed overnight in more than 70 airstrikes, believed to have been mounted by Russian warplanes, in eastern Syria's province of Deir al-Zour, the Observatory said.

The Britain-based watchdog said dozens of oil tanks were also destroyed in the oil-rich province, controlled by Islamic State.

Russia, an ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad, started airstrikes against Islamic State and other extremists groups in Syria on September 30.

Around 1 331 people, including more than 400 civilians, have since been killed in Russian airstrikes in Syria, the Observatory reported on Friday.

Read more on:    turkey  |  syria  |  security  |  syria conflict

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