Over the late evening hours, ISIS initiated a second major offensive in northern Aleppo, thereby seizing around 10 villages from rebels here. The advance was enabled through several raids in the evening, night and morning hours in an area with a relatively weak rebel line of defence.
Effectively, the situation for rebel troops at the Turkish-Syrian border has become critical as their fighting force has been cut in two.
Thus, ISIS jihadists have established control over Ikda, Kafr Ghan, Baraghida, Kafr Shush, Hawar Killis, Aykadah, Qizil Mazra’ah and Harjalah while the situation is unclear at several contested neighbouring villages.
With at least 8 villages now in ISIS hands (confirmed), their forces have were able to push 4 kilometers north during the 15-hour offensive. In just 4 days, rebels have lost more than 20 villages to ISIS in the region.
The situation at Ikda refugee camp was especially critical, as ISIS shelled the camp relentlessly, thereby causing dozens of deaths along with a mass exodus.
Remarkably, ISIS fighters were able to advance in the region despite Turkish shelling and airstrikes by the US-led anti-ISIS coalition. Furthermore, reports suggest that hundreds of rebel fighters have fled across the Turkish border as to avoid being killed by hostile ISIS fighters.
Now, insurgents in northern Aleppo – spearheaded by various Free Syrian Army (FSA) factions – have lost more than half the territory they controlled just one week ago.
Additionally, ISIS is expected to launch another assault in the coming hours on the eastern rebel-held enclave, thus striking towards the FSA stronghold of Dudiyan.
Heavy clashes are still ongoing as we speak.