Daesh militants on Sunday captured six villages near the city of Azaz in Syria’s northwestern Aleppo province from the Free Syrian Army (FSA), according to FSA sources.
"Daesh carried out an offensive with heavy weapons aimed at taking several villages near Azaz," Zakaria Karesli, a field commander in the Shamiyya Front (which includes several factions of Syria’s armed opposition), told Anadolu Agency.
"Opposition forces tried to repel the attack, but Daesh nevertheless managed to take the villages of Bragidah, Gazl, Al-Bal, Sheikh Raih, Jarez and Tel Husayn," Karesli said.
He added that FSA forces had since launched a "fierce counter-offensive" with a view to retaking the villages.
"Violent clashes are now underway near Bragidah," he said, adding: "Many Daesh elements infiltrated the village of Hiwar Kells near the Turkish border last night."
He went on to note that eight FSA troops had been killed in the clashes, while some 20 civilians -- mostly women and children -- had been killed by Daesh, which itself had lost nine fighters.
"The Daesh terrorists were forced to withdraw from Hiwar Kells due to the large number of injuries they sustained," he said.
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