The Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS) is threatening the Free Syrian Army’s stronghold of Mar’e after entering this imperative city in Aleppo’s northern countryside last weekend.
On Monday morning, ISIS began their assault on Mar’e by pounding the defensive positions of the Free Syrian Army and the Jabhat Al-Shamiyah (Levantine Front) at the eastern sector of the city before they stormed the latter’s frontlines.
If ISIS is successful in capturing this rebel stronghold, the Free Syrian Army and their allies will be. faced with a major threat at their strategic border-city of ‘Azaz; this was one of the first cities where ISIS and the Syrian rebels first clashed after the disintegration of their relations in September 2013.
ISIS is in desperate need of another border-crossing after the predominately Kurdish “People’s Protection Units” (YPG) – backed by the Free Syrian Army – captured the terrorist group’s main border-crossing at Tal Abyad, leaving them without a main supply route from Turkey to their stronghold at Raqqa City.
‘Azaz is strategically located on the border of Turkey; it offers ISIS a surrogate border-crossing and a new frontier to launch a series of attacks on the rebel heartland in northern Aleppo.
This is a serious threat for the rebel forces that rely on this border-crossing to resupply their entrenched fighters via the Hareetan Highway that stretches to the Turkish city of Gaziantep.