IS takes back town of al-Rai

Edited by Nelly T.

Al-Rai, a key supply route into IS-held territory in Aleppo province, broke out in intense fighting early Monday morning and was overrun soon after, reported the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Rebels fighting under the banner of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) had claimed the town last week during a conflict with IS.

In recent months the jihadist group has suffered being pushed back in a number of areas by rebels, Kurdish fighters and Syrian government forces. The jihadist group is known to be in possession of a large strip of territory across northern Syria.

According to the Syrian Observatory (SOHR), a UK-based monitoring group, and the Local Co-ordination Committees (LCC), an opposition activist network, IS was able to regain claim six villages along with al-Rai on Monday.

IS also issued a statement confirming it had driven rebels out of al-Rai.

“The fact that the rebels could not hold on to al-Rai shows that it is impossible to maintain an advance against IS without adequate cover,” said Rami Abdul Rahman, director of the Syrian Observatory.

Reports from SOHR also came that rival jihadists from the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front and allied rebels had launched offensives in Aleppo, Hama and Latakia provinces on Monday.

“This is the offensive that al-Nusra warned it would carry out several weeks ago,” Mr. Abdul Rahman said, indicating to a threat supplied by the group when Russia announced it was withdrawing most of it’s forces from Syria, after a six-month air campaign against Mr. Assad’s opponents.

Military positions in Latakia and Hama were being attacked by armed groups, yet had not succeeded in making any advances, a Syrian military source supplied.

A new round of UN-brokered talks in Geneva will take place later this week, with representatives of the government and opposition participating with the intention of putting an end to the five-year conflict in Syria which has left over 250, 000 people dead.