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Syrian rebels push Daesh further back from supply route

The rebels ousted Daesh from the village of Al Bal, threatening the Bab Al Salama border crossing, just 10 kilometres away.

By (AFP)

Published: Sat 13 Jun 2015, 7:44 PM

Last updated: Wed 8 Jul 2015, 3:06 PM

In a picture taken from Alcakale, Turkey, a flag of the Daesh flutters amongst buildings in the centre of the Syrian city Tal Abyad. -AFP

Beirut - A Syrian rebel alliance has pushed Daesh group militants further away from one of its key supply routes from neighbouring Turkey, a monitoring group said on Saturday.

The rebels ousted Daesh from the village of Al Bal, which it captured on Tuesday, threatening the Bab Al Salama border crossing, just 10 kilometres away, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The village’s recapture late on Friday came after heavy fighting, which killed 14 rebels and 15 Daesh militants, Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman said.

Further south, the rebels were fighting to defend the town of Marea, on the road between the crossing and the rebel-held eastern sector of the main northern city of Aleppo.

Activists said the rebels were simultaneously launching their own attacks on Daesh positions in the area.

“The ultimate goal for Daesh is to cut off this crossing,” said Abdel Rahman.

Mamun Abu Omar, head of a local pro-rebel press agency, said “Daesh is trying to surround the town by occupying the villages all around it.”

The rebel alliance is fighting both Daesh and government forces in Aleppo province, which is one of the most complex battlegrounds of Syria’s multi-front civil war.

In some areas, it is supported by fighters of Daesh’s rival, Al Qaeda affiliate Al Nusra Front.

Daesh fighters control areas in the province’s east, and have been laying siege to the Kweyris military airport, still controlled by the regime.

Early on Saturday, three government officers were killed when their helicopter was shot down by Daesh just outside the airport, Abdel Rahman said.

“All three officers were killed, but it’s not clear if Daesh has taken the bodies,” he said.

Meanwhile, Kurdish militia advanced further into Daesh’s bastion province Raqa, in Syria’s north, in a bid to capture the key border town of Tal Abyad.

The Observatory said Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) had edged to within 10 kilometres southwest of Tal Abyad, used by Daesh as a gateway from Turkey.

Backed by air strikes from a US-led coalition, Kurdish forces recaptured the flashpoint town of Kobani — which lies west of Raqa province — from Daesh in January.

Since then, YPG militia have chipped away at Daesh control along the Turkish border on both sides of Raqa.

According to the Observatory, the Kurdish fighters advancing from east and west aim to meet at Tal Abyad and lay siege to the town.

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