Syria regime troops advance on Aleppo

AFP-JIJI

Syrian troops seized a rebel-held town north of Aleppo on Saturday and pushed toward part of the city, taking advantage of fighting between rebels and jihadists elsewhere, activists said.

“Regime forces have taken over the area of Naqarin and are advancing toward the industrial area of Aleppo city,” said the Aleppo Media Center, a network of activists on the ground. “This advance is clearly a result of the rebels being busy fighting Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.”

The army’s moves come eight days after Islamist and moderate rebels fighting to topple President Bashar Assad’s regime launched a major offensive against ISIL.

On Saturday, ISIL militants fought pitched battles with other rebels in the northwestern town of Saraqeb and seized the town of Tal Abyad on the border with Turkey after Islamist rebels pulled out, a monitoring group said.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Islamist rebels launched an offensive to push ISIL out of Saraqeb, the jihadists’ last bastion in the province of Idlib.