Syrian Islamist rebels capture two key towns south of Aleppo

Syrian rebels during clashes against pro-Assad military forces in Aleppo. File photo

ARA News

ALEPPO – Islamist rebel groups conducted Saturday a major offensive on positions for the pro-regime forces and allied militias, killing and wounding dozens of soldiers in Syria’s northern province of Aleppo, local and military sources reported.

Islamist rebels were able to capture several strategic locations after clashes with pro-Assad forces, according to local activists.

Speaking to ARA News in Aleppo, rebel spokesman Mustafa Suleiman said that the Nusra Front [Syria’s branch of al-Qaeda], Jund al-Aqsa and Ahrar al-Sham factions launched a major attack on headquarters of the regime’s army in Aleppo’s southern suburbs.

“The rebels were able to take over the key towns of Bernah and Khalidiya after heavy battles with the Syrian army,” Suleiman stressed.

The spokesman pointed out that the rebel factions, after heavy battles with Assad’s forces, were able to destroy several guns [caliber 23], a machine gun 14.5 as well as a manned-vehicle after targeting them with thermal rockets.

Local sources confirmed that Islamist armed groups launched several missiles on locations held by the regime’s army within the town of Khan Toman. However, the pro-regime forces responded by targeting the town of al-Eis [held by rebels] and the areas around Khan Toman and al-Ahrash. No casualties reported.

The rebel groups have gained control of al-Eis town subsequent to the announcement of the battle for southern Aleppo. They were able to expel the pro-regime forces completely from the area, according to the spokesman.

Also, Syrian Islamist fighters have taken over several towns north of Aleppo three weeks ago, especially after the US-led coalition forces intensified airstrikes on the positions of the radical group of Islamic State (ISIS) near the Turkish border. However, ISIS regained two towns after causing the rebels heavy losses in manpower and equipment. 

Reporting by: Taim Khalil

Source: ARA News

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