BEIRUT, LEBANON (2:10 P.M.) – Islamic State forces have suffered a big defeat, as well as heavy losses to go with it, at the gates of a key rebel stronghold in the southeastern countryside of Idlib province.
Since Friday, ISIS has been trying to capture the crossroad town of Umm Khalakhil in southeast Idlib from rival militant groups.
Although entering Umm Khalakhil and capturing parts of it, ISIS was eventually repulsed on Monday morning after several days of violent clashes for the town and its surrounding countryside.
During firefights that took place on Monday alone, Syrian rebels killed about a dozen Islamic State fighters inside and near Umm Khalakhil – several more were captured alive and have been taken prisoner.
Only further to the southwest has ISIS encountered some degree of success against rival militant groups. Here it captured the village of Ard az-Zurzur and reportedly also seized the junction town of Khuwayn (some opposition sources are disputing this).
Recently, the Al-Qaeda affiliate group Ha’yat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra) released photos over its official media channel showing some of the ISIS fighters killed during the battle of Umm Khalakhil.