As of recently, the Islamist rebel groups – specifically, the Syrian Al-Qaeda group “Jabhat Al-Nusra”, Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham, and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) – have launched a number offensives in and around the provincial capital of Aleppo, targeting the Syrian Arab Army’s (SAA) defensive positions, despite the looming Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS) threat near the Turkish border.

However, the 48 hours have been rather rough for the Islamist rebel factions, as they have not only conceded a large swath of territory to ISIS, but also, their large-scale offensives at Bashkoy (north Aleppo) and the Al-Zahra Association Quarter of Aleppo City have flopped, with many of their militants perishing during these poorly planned offensives.

On Thursday,  Jabhat Al-Nusra and their affiliates attempted to break-through the Syrian Armed Forces’ frontline defenses at the Al-Zahra Association Quarter for the third time in four days; however, their assault proved unsuccessful and costly, as the Syrian Armed Forces repelled the attack and killed over 20 enemy combatants from the Islamist rebels.

While the Islamist rebel forces continue to launch a number of failed offensives against the Syrian Arab Army, the ISIS militants to the north have found their way into the heart of the rebel-held territory in northern Aleppo, advancing towards the imperative city of Mar’e and Tal Rifa’at.

According to recent reports from northern Aleppo, ISIS has captured 5 villages near the strategic city of Mar’e, killing a number of Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham and Free Syrian Army soldiers in the process.

If the Islamist rebel forces are unable to obstruct ISIS’ advance soon, they will face a much graver threat once ISIS reaches the once untouchable city of ‘Azaz on the border of Turkey.

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Editor-in-Chief Specializing in Near Eastern Affairs and Economics.

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