ISIS loses another two key villages as bombing assault continues from all angle and numerous countries
- The villages sit in proposed ‘ISIS free’ buffer zone along Turkish border
- Groups, backed by Turkey and U.S., say they can now free more villages
- Russia continued bombing raids on oil fields in the east of Syria
- Claim to have killed 600 jihadis – but also accused of killing 10 children
ISIS have lost another two key strategic Syrian villages after a week of bombing raids which struck at the heart of the so-called ‘caliphate’.
The militants came under attack from two different rebel groups on Friday and Saturday, losing two villages which form part of a 61-mile stretch of land along the border Turkey hopes to make ‘ISIS free’.
Meanwhile, ISIS continued to come under heavy bombardment from international forces, with Russian jets flying more than 70 raids – hitting three oilfields – on Friday alone.
Syrian Turkmen rebels, working alongside Jabhat Shamiya (Levant Front), a group of Islamist nationalists, seized the villages of Harjaleh and Dalha in northern Aleppo province with support from American and Turkish warplanes.
It claimed 70 jihadists were killed in the battle, releasing a video of some of those it captured – one of them just 15-years-old.
The group claims it has also cleared the area around the village of hundreds of mines.
‘The importance of liberating these two villages is that this will be the foundation to free the rest of nearby villages from the group,’ said Haytham Abu Hammo, head of Jabhat Shamiya media office.
The victories followed a number of days which had seen ISIS’ headquarters Raqqa, as well as a number of other factories and key positions, blasted by the Russian military.
Russia – which upped its campaign against ISIS after terrorists linked to the group claimed responsibility for downing a passenger jet in October, killing all 224 on board – says it has killed 600 fighters in the last few days.
But the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights puts the figures at closer to 381 militants, along with 547 rebels from other groups including Al Qaeda affiliate Al-Nusra Front. since it began military operations in September.
It says a third of the more than 1,300 people killed in the intervening weeks were civilians.
The British-based Observatory also said there were 36 people, including 10 children, killed in Russian and Syrian strikes against in the eastern Deir Ezzor province on Friday.
On the ground, ISIS were fighting regime forces
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