Syrian insurgents retake two villages in Aleppo from Islamic State

Reuters News
Posted: Nov 21, 2015 12:21 PM

BEIRUT (Reuters) - A Syrian grouping of insurgents said on Saturday they have recaptured two villages from Islamic State fighters in northern Aleppo province near the border with Turkey.

The Jabhat al Shamiya (Levant Front), an alliance of rebel groups operating in the northern Aleppo countryside, said in statements posted on the internet that its fighters "freed" the villages of Delha and Harjaleh, which it had lost in August.

It posted pictures of young men it said were fighters from the Islamic State group whom it has taken captive. It also said it has dismantled hundreds of mines from the two villages.

Islamic State seized the two villages from Syrian rebels in August after Syria's al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front - which is hostile to IS - handed them over to the insurgents after announcing it was withdrawing from an intended Turkish buffer zone area.

At that time, Turkey and the United States said they were planning to launch "comprehensive" air operations to flush Islamic State fighters from the border area and provide air cover for what Washington judges to be moderate Syrian rebels, in a joint operation to drive IS from a rectangle of border territory roughly 80 km (50 miles) long.

But the group launched a major offensive against Syrian insurgents in northern Aleppo and seized several villages, including Delha and Harjaleh.

(Reporting by Mariam Karouny; Editing by Digby Lidstone)