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ISIS advancing on Azaz

17 August
16:10 2014

AFRIN (DİHA) - ISIS, which has carried out brutal crimes against humanity in both Iraq and Syria, is engaged in intensive battles with Syrian opposition groups around Aleppo.

ISIS gangs wish to advance towards the town of Azaz, which is of strategic importance. Opposition groups, first and foremost the Jabhat Al Akrad (Kurdish Front), say they cannot afford to lose control of the town. In the last few days dozens of civilians have been massacred by ISIS in villages around Aleppo. It is reported that 8 Kurdish Front fighters captured in the Al Bab area six months ago were savagely slaughtered in the Akhtarin area of Aleppo yesterday. ISIS has captured many villages in the Turkish border areas near Aleppo, and is advancing on Azaz and Mare, which are seen as strongholds of the opposition.

If Azaz and Mare are taken it will be a severe blow

The capture of Azaz and Mare by ISIS would be a severe blow for the Syrian opposition. This is why there have been violent clashes around Mare since yesterday. Mare is under the control of the Islamic Front, while the Kurdish Front is in Azaz. According to the London-based Syrian Observatory of Human Rights, if ISIS takes Mare and Azaz it will cut off the main supply route of the opposition groups. Mare Revolutionary Council spokesperson Abu Omar told AFP that they could not entertain the idea of defeat in their clashes with ISIS. The ISIS gangs, which have suffered serious reverses at the hands of the YPG in the Kobanê region, have for over a week been targeting villages in the Azaz-Al Bab-Aleppo triangle. ISIS has taken the town of Akhtarin to the east of Aleppo, with civilians being taken to safety by the Kurdish Front. The Syrian Observatory of Human Rights said that at least 17 people had been decapitated by ISIS in attacks on villages to the north of Aleppo on Thursday and Friday. The Syrian opposition called on the international community not to limit its struggle with ISIS to Iraq, emphasising that the threat posed in Iraq and Syria could not be separated..

Azaz on the border of Afrin

The Azaz area is on the border of the Afrin canton of West Kurdistan. Last year ISIS gangs that had moved into the area between Azaz and Aleppo were forced to withdraw on 27 February after opposition groups gave them a 2-day ultimatum. ISIS took control of Azaz in October 2013 and began to launch attacks on Kurdish areas. In fierce clashes with YPG forces 170 ISIS members were killed between 2 and 7 October, including several amirs (leaders).

(nt)



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