by Jason Ditz
After a Friday offensive left ISIS just a stone’s throw out of the major north Syrian city of Aleppo, fighting continued over the weekend which saw rival rebel factions aiming to chase ISIS out of some of the strategically important villages, with some success.
Ahrar al-Sham, one of the key Islamic Front factions, seized one of the villages from ISIS, and was in the process of contesting another, which is along the key highway between the city of Aleppo and the Turkish border.
Russia launched a number of airstrikes against ISIS in Aleppo in recent days and destroyed one of their ammunition depots in the province, though ISIS continues to have significant forces in the area, and is not being easily displaced from its newly-seized territory.
As of Friday, ISIS had forces just a few hundred meters from the northern edge of Aleppo, though now they are described as some 20 km away from the city with the new fighting. Aleppo was Syria’s industrial and financial capital before the war, though after years of being contested the city is largely a mess of contested districts.