A militant fighter of the Islamic State. File photo
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ALEPPO – The radical group of Islamic State (ISIS) continued Tuesday its advancement against the pro-regime military forces and allied militias near Aleppo in northern Syria, local activists reported.
Subsequent to ISIS’s control of strategic locations on the Khanasser-Ithreya highway near Aleppo, fierce clashes erupted between the group’s militants and the pro-regime forces.
The pro-Assad army strives to regain the areas fell to ISIS militants in the countryside of Aleppo.
Speaking to ARA News, civil rights activist Wael Mohammed said that ISIS was able to control the water pump in the Ithreya area, taking over the Thirayan barrier on the Khanasser highway.
The Thirayan barrier, which was taken as a security base by the Palestinian Liwaa al-Quds group, has been attacked by an ISIS-led car bomb, during which more than 20 members of al-Quds group were killed.
By blocking the Aleppo-Khanasser road, ISIS has cut off the supply line between Hama and the regime-held neighborhoods in Aleppo city. The road is deemed as the only supply line for Assad’s army toward the city of Aleppo. Subsequently, prices of fuel and food have dramatically increased in the regime-held areas inside the city.
ISIS is now in control of 19 checkpoints belonging to the pro-regime forces and allied militias in Aleppo suburbs, as the entire district of Ithreya fell to the radical group.
A source close to ISIS told ARA News that the group is now preparing to storm the Khanasser district, which is regarded the most important bastion for pro-Assad forces between Aleppo and Hama.
In the meantime, ISIS stormed the town of As-Safira in the southern countryside of Aleppo after bombing headquarters of the pro-Assad forces there.
Speaking to ARA News in As-Safira, media activist Omar Jassam confirmed that ISIS launched “a surprise and fierce offensive” on the town on Tuesday evening.
“They (ISIS militants) targeted the city with dozens of rockets and heavy artillery shells, bombing army positions as well as residential buildings,” Jassam said, pointing out that the militants seized several neighborhoods south of As-Safira.
“The clashes continued between ISIS and pro-Assad forces until Tuesday midnight, where dozens were reportedly killed on both sides,” the source told ARA News.
The town of As-Safira holds a key position on the road between Aleppo and Damascus.
Reporting by: Taim Khalil
Source: ARA News