Yesterday, ISIS captured the villages of Tal Hussein, Tatiyah, Baryshah, and Janhat in northern Aleppo; this marks an Islamic State thrust into areas not reached before.
Thus, ISIS forces are now less than 5 kilometers from the strategic border city of Azaz after gaining ground on rebel forces in northern Syria.
A few days ago, the Free Syrian Army groups of northern Aleppo merged to the ‘Army of Mujahideen’ in attempts to counter ISIS under a new unified Islamist command structure.
The Army of Mujahideen still controls a salient of Syrian territory along the Turkish border; however, control of this area is mostly held due to the backing of Turkish artillery units.
Rebel forces in northern Aleppo now control less than 20 villages and towns within the Azaz pocket, effectively leaving it in its most vulnerable state since February.
Rebels based in Azaz are supported by U.S. coalition warplanes; however, the latter airforce has been unable to stop the Islamic State from advancing in northern Aleppo.
Kurdish factions from Efrin are meanwhile not expected to assist the Azaz pocket against ISIS as the YPG maintains strong quarrels with the Syrian Opposition.
The fall of the Azaz pocket was predicted exactly one month ago by Al-Masdar News.