Syrian regime airstrikes aiding Daesh offensive in Aleppo: US Embassy

Published June 2nd, 2015 - 07:33 GMT

The Islamic State group [also known by the Arabic acronym Daesh] launched a new offensive in northern Syria this weekend in an apparent attempt to cut off the country’s largest city, Aleppo, from crucial supply lines to Turkey.

On Monday, Daesh advanced towards Marea, a village located between the Syrian city of Aleppo and the Turkish border.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Daesh expanded its control in Aleppo province at the weekend, at the expense of rival rebel groups.

The move north came on the heels of major advances by the militant group, which captured the Syrian city of Palmyra and the Iraqi city of Ramadi last month.

According to a report by the Washington Post, Syrian rebel factions deployed reinforcements north of Aleppo after Daesh took control of five villages.

If the border town of Azaz, north of Aleppo, were to fall, supply lines to the city would be severed and rebel forces in the region would be jeopardized, rebel commanders told the paper.

“Automatically, the Islamic State would gain control of Aleppo city,” said Abu Mohammed, a rebel leader based in Turkey, told the Washington Post. “The situation is dire.”

Seizing Azaz would also put Daesh in control of much of the Syria-Turkey border, providing it with greater access to smuggling supplies and fighters into its territory. Daesh forces would also encroach on another Kurdish enclave pressed against the Turkish border in a similar to last year’s siege of the city of Kobane.

A string of Syrian air force barrel bomb attacks which reportedly killed around 100 people raised allegations that the Assad regime was aiding the radical jihadist group in a bid to thwart moderate rebel attempts to seize Aleppo.

The US Embassy in Syria charged in a series of tweets that the Syrian government was aiding Daesh's advance in its airstrikes against civilians.

The jihadists also gained ground in northeast Syria, where a suicide bomber killed “at least nine regime loyalists” near Hasakeh, the Observatory said.

Daesh also ousted government forces from areas in the central province of Homs.

Geographer and analyst Fabrice Balanche said that across Iraq and Syria, the jihadist group now controls nearly 300,000 square kilometers (115,000 square miles), an area the size of Italy.

 


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