ISIS tightens siege on rebel-held town north Syria

A member of the Islamic State stands next to a board that indicates the road towards Marea town in northern Aleppo. File photo

ARA News

Aleppo, Syria – After seizing control of the nearby town of Harbal, Islamic State group (IS/ISIS) tightened its siege on the rebel-held town of Marea in Aleppo countryside, north Syria, military sources reported on Thursday. 

ISIS militants took over Harbal town after clashes with Syrian rebel fighters of al-Shamiya Front.

“Our forces withdrew from Harbal after terrorists of ISIS shelled our headquarters with mortars,” Saleh al-Zein, a member of the Shamiya Front, told ARA News on Thursday. 

“We are currently trying to fortify the strategic town of Marea to repel ISIS attacks,” he said. 

Taking over Marea would enable ISIS to impose its control over major parts of the northern countryside of Aleppo, as the town constitutes a main stronghold for the rebels in that area. 

“We won’t give up Marea town under any circumstances. We will fight ISIS until the last man in our ranks, because the fall of Marea would be a heavy defeat for us in northern Aleppo,” the Shamiya fighter said. 

Clashes continued between the Syrian rebels and ISIS militants until Thursday midnight.

“At least nine ISIS militants were killed in Thursday’s clashes,” al-Zein said, adding that Shamiya Front lost five of its rebels. 

In the meantime, ISIS fired several mortar shells on residential buildings in Marea town, causing the death of more than 15 civilians, including children, local sources said on Thursday. 

Reporting by: Taim Khalil

Source: ARA News 

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