Islamic State (IS) militants fought rival insurgent groups on Wednesday near Aleppo, where officials say the Syrian army is preparing an offensive of its own backed by Iranian soldiers and Russian jets, Reuters reported.
Sources were quoted as saying that IS fighters took control of parts of the towns of Ahras and Tel Jabin, about 12 kilometers north of Aleppo, before being pushed back.
Gains by IS north of Aleppo would threaten the supply lines of rival rebels inside the city, which is divided between insurgents and government forces.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the road used by Aleppo residents heading north to the Turkish border remained closed on Wednesday.
“Today there are fierce battles between us and (IS) in Ahras, Tel Jabin, and rural northern Aleppo,” Hassan Haj Ali, head of the Liwa Suqour al-Jabal rebel group, was quoted as saying.
His unit is one of several foreign-backed insurgent forces which are fighting IS on the ground, while also being bombed by Russian jets and bracing for further ground attacks by the army.
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