Militant fighters of the Islamic State (ISIS). File photo
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ALEPPO ــ Subsequent to heavy battles with Syrian army forces, militant fighters of the Islamic State (ISIS) were able to capture Saturday several villages in Syria’s northern province of Aleppo, local sources reported.
Speaking to ARA News in Aleppo, media activist Omar Jassim, based in the southern suburbs, said that ISIS militants launched a major offensive on positions for the pro-regime forces near the town of Khanasser in the southern environs of Aleppo and have taken over the villages of Zaid, al-Hayat, Jeb al-Ali, Kwais, Qalia, al-Tuba, al-Jidaida, Serdah, Duraib al-Wawi and al-Ashanah.
The extremist group was able to reach Syriatel tower that overlooks the strategic area of as-Sifayra– Khanasser, according to the source.
A source close to the Syrian army told ARA News that ISIS jihadis were able to kill a number of soldiers and seize a large deal of military equipment, including five heavy guns, three tanks, two armored vehicles, a number of cannons [caliber 106 and 57], a large deal of ammunition and Katyusha rockets.
In the meantime, air force loyal to the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad conducted several raids on the ISIS positions in the vicinity of the town of Khanasser and the hills overlooking the town, amid reports of casualties among ISIS ranks.
ARA News could not verify the death toll among the group’s ranks.
On Friday, ISIS militants launched a major offensive on the southern suburbs of Aleppo in a bid to take over the town of Khanasser and cut the army’s supply lines to the city of Aleppo and its environs.
In February, ISIS clashed with the regime’s army troops in the southern countryside of Aleppo and were able to capture the Air Defense (Al-Difaa’ Al-Jawi) base near the Khanasser town. This came just two days after the group’s fighters took over the strategic Khanasser-Ithrayya road, cutting off a main supply line for the Syrian army between Hama and Aleppo.
The Khnasser-Ithrayya route was a main supply line for the regime’s troops fighting in Aleppo. The army relied on this line to receive military reinforcements from Hama to support its forces inside Aleppo, according to local activists.
Last Sunday, the Syrian regime’s Prime Minister, Wa’el al-Halaqi, announced that the Syrian army and Russian Air Force are preparing a major offensive to liberate the provincial capital of the Aleppo Governorate.
Reporting by: Taim Khalil
Source: ARA News