Syrian insurgents retake two villages in Aleppo from ISIS

Syrian pro-government forces inspect weapons reportedly left by ISIS group fighters at a train station in the area of Arkile near the airport of Kweyris, in the northern Syrian province of Aleppo, on Nov 20, 2015.
Syrian pro-government forces inspect weapons reportedly left by ISIS group fighters at a train station in the area of Arkile near the airport of Kweyris, in the northern Syrian province of Aleppo, on Nov 20, 2015. PHOTO: AFP

BEIRUT (REUTERS) - A Syrian grouping of insurgents said on Saturday they have recaptured two villages from Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) 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.

ISIS seized the two villages from Syrian rebels in August after Syria's Al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front - which is hostile to ISIS - 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 ISIS fighters from the border area and provide air cover for what Washington judges to be moderate Syrian rebels, in a joint operation to drive ISIS from a rectangle of border territory roughly 80km long.

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