Fighters of the Free Syrian Army captured a number of villages from ISIS east of the town of Albab northeast of Aleppo on Thursday. The progress came after the FSA fighters attacked ISIS positions east of Albab in the early morning hours, killing dozens of ISIS militants.
The latest FSA push on Albab is part of the Euphrates Shield Operation, a Turkish-backed operation that aims to oust extremist groups from northern Syria.
Activists said the FSA groups took control of the village of Muqarri and a nearby hill on Thursday. This important progress has brought the FSA groups closer to Albab, ISIS’s last remaining stronghold in northern Syria.
The FSA groups are now besieging Albab from all sides and targeting ISIS positions inside the town and on its outskirts in preparation for a final attack to capture the strategic town.
In addition to ousting ISIS, the take over of Albab frustrates PYD to expand over more areas in northern Syria.
Albab, which lies 30 kilometers south of the Turkish border, has a population of about 200,000 people. It fell to the ISIS extremist group in January 2014.
In late December 2016, the FSA groups tightened the noose on Albab after they had captured the road linking Albab with Aleppo. They also captured the strategic Aqil hill which overlooks most of the town in an offensive that was carried out under aerial and artillery cover from the Turkish forces.
The FSA groups have so far captured over 217 towns and villages in northern Syria since the Euphrates Shield Operation began in August 24, 2016 killing hundreds of ISIS militants. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Office)