Damascus, Feb 6 (IANS) The Islamic State (IS) terror group has lost over two-thirds of the border towns under its control on the Syrian-Turkish borderline, media reported on Saturday.
The IS presence has started to shrink since the beginning of 2015 as the group’s control of 250 km of the Syrian-Turkish borders in early 2015 was reduced to 70 km, Xinhua reported.
“The group had used those border cities to bring in arms and fighters before losing much of these conduits,” the report said.
The IS now has three crossings with Turkey — the first is west of Jarablus city near the town of Halwaniyey, this crossing is rugged from the Turkish side, but the group uses it to get medical and military supplies. This conduit is guarded by highly-trained IS fighters connected directly with the leadership of the group.
The second crossing, close to the first one, is located near the town of Haji. The group, via it, sends and receives fighters, including those who need medical treatment.
The report said the IS group scrutinises the pretexts and medical conditions of those leaving, as no fighter is permitted to leave without a signed document from his commander.
The third is near the town of Ayaseh, which is used for the transportation of civilians who live under the IS rule to Turkey back and forth.
The presence of the IS is threatened in northern Aleppo with the progress of the Western-backed rebels of the Syrian Democratic Force, which is approaching the group’s bastion in Manbej in northern Aleppo as well as the Syrian military force progress on the northeastern fronts in Aleppo, in a battle aims at closing the Syrian-Turkish borders and cutting the militants supply lines.
Syria’s government troops are approaching the city of al-Bab, a main stronghold for the IS in northern Aleppo near Turkey.
Other militants, including the Al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front and the Ahrar al-Sham Movement are also losing border points between Syria and Turkey.
On Friday, and part of the military forces wide-scale offensive in Aleppo, the Syrian army backed by the Shia fighters of Hezbollah and heavy Russian air cover captured the strategic towns of Mayer and Ratyan, which were under the control of the Nusra Front and Ahrar al-Sham Movement.
The capture of these towns was the latest defeat conflicted upon the militant groups in northern Aleppo, as the towns were the main supply lines for weapon and munition to the hardline militants in Aleppo, said al-Mayadeen.
It took the Syrian troops one hour only to take Mayer, after the military units took Ratyan on Friday, according to the report.
Meanwhile, the Syrian Observatory for Human Right said over 100 Syrian soldiers and jihadist militants were killed on Friday during intense battles in the northern province of Aleppo.
The soldiers and militants were killed during the Syrian military offensive for taking over Ratyan.
The recent offensive in Aleppo is part of the government resolve to cut the city from its northern countryside and deprive the rebels from their supply lines from the Turkish territories into northern Aleppo.
Capturing Ratyan and Mayer came after the Syrian army captured key towns in northern Aleppo, namely the towns of Dweir Zaitoun, Hardatnain, Tal Jbain, and Maraset al-Khan, all the way toward breaking the Nusra Front siege on the Shiite towns of Nubbol and Zahraa.
Nubbol and Zahraa had been under the militants’ siege for over three years, during which the Syrian jets were dropping aid and food to the trapped people.