Yesterday, rebel fighters of Ahrar ash-Sham, Failaq Al-Sham, the Sultan Murad Brigade, the Free Syrian Army’s 16th division and a small unit of some 30 Jabhat al-Nusra fighters rushed along the Turkish border, thus making advances both south and east of Al-Rai border town which was captured not long ago.
Effectively, combined rebel forces were able to capture wrestle the neighbouring villages of Wuquf, Hadabat, Mull Yaakoob and Tjaljah Sharqiyah from ISIS fighters lurking in the area.
The offensive reportedly come into effect under cover of US airstrikes and Turkish artillery shells which subsequently caused a ISIS commanders to sue for a large-scale retreat.
Yesterday’s deathtoll among rebel fighters was at some 20 killed according to information gathered by al-Masdar. These deaths were mainly caused by suicidal armoured ISIS vehicles loaded with explosives (VBIED).
Meanwhile, just a handful of ISIS fighters died yesterday; this is due to thea gradual tactical retreat by ISIS from the region as to reinforce other vunerable frontlines.
Remarkably, this rebel offensive has seized some 30% of the remaining ISIS-held border with Turkey. Only Jarabolous and a few minor unofficial border crossings currently connect Turkey and the Islamic State mainland.
Soon, ISIS may very well lose their final logistical gateway through Turkey – this would remove an important source of new recruits, weapons and oil export.