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Syria rebels attacked by ISIS, govt troops

AFP
Published : May 30, 2016, 7:07 am IST
Updated : May 30, 2016, 7:07 am IST

Thousands of civilians have fled an offensive by ISIS against Opposition rebels in northern Syria into territory controlled by a US-backed Kurdish-led alliance, a monitor said on Sunday.

Thousands of civilians have fled an offensive by ISIS against Opposition 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 Raqa province further east and by the Army and allied militia around Fallujah in neighbouring 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. “The displaced arrived last night in areas in the west and north of Aleppo province under the control of the Syrian Democratic Forces,” Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said.

An anaesthetist who fled Marea with his family after five relatives were killed in shelling said late Saturday that just four medical staff remained in the town’s only hospital.

More than 1,60,000 civilians were trapped by the fighting on Saturday, which also forced the evacuation of one of the few remaining hospitals in the area, run by the international medical organisation Doctors Without Borders.

At least 61 rebel fighters have been killed in the fighting, as well as 47 jihadists the Observatory said.

Location: Lebanon, Beirut