Sunday, May 29, 2016

Thousands flee ISIS offensive in northern Syria

Syrian rebels in Aleppo (file)
Syrian rebels in Aleppo (file)

 Thousands of civilians have fled an offensive by the Islamic State jihadist group (ISIS) against non-jihadist rebels in northern Syria into territory controlled by a US-backed Kurdish-led alliance, a monitor said on Sunday.

The offensive against the towns of Marea and Azaz threatens to overrun the last swathe of territory in the east of Aleppo province held by non-jihadist rebels and bring ISIS to the doorstep of the Kurdish enclave of Afrin.

At least 29 civilians have been killed since ISIS launched the assault early on Friday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

It came as the jihadists were under attack by the Kurdish-led alliance in Raqqa province further east and by the army and allied militia around Fallujah in neighboring Iraq.  

"More than 6,000 civilians, most of them women and children, were able to flee areas in the countryside of Aleppo province... especially from Marea town and Sheikh Issa village" to its west, the Britain-based monitoring group said. READ MORE