Syrian rebels break ISIS siege on Marea town near Turkish border

Syrian rebels break ISIS siege on Marea town near Turkish border

Syrian rebels forced Islamic State fighters to withdraw from frontlines of Marea town in Aleppo on Wednesday as they mounted a counter attack against the terrorist group near the Turkish border, while the Kurdish militias are still holding siege on other fronts.

Islamic State had managed to besiege the rebel-held town of Marea in a significant advance late last month, stranding thousands of civilians there and prompting a U.S.-led coalition to air drop weapons to rebels, rebel sources said.

Syrian rebel fighters in Marea broke the siege on Wednesday when they captured the village of Kafr Kalbin on the road linking Marea with Azaz, 20 km (12 miles) to the northwest at the border with Turkey. The advance was preceded by a rebel statement saying they were uniting their ranks.

With this attack the siege was broken from the northern and eastern sides whereas the siege imposed by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which includes the Kurdish militias, continued in the side of Tal Refaat city.

The sudden withdrawal from villages around the rebel-held town of Marea points to the pressure Islamic State is feeling from offensives being waged by other enemies further east, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said.

Following ISIS withdrawal, Syrian rebels started removing the mines between Marea and Azaz, Marea media center reported.