Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) has taken back a key supply town at the Syria-Turkey border after losing the town last week to a rebel alliance that includes Al Qaida’s Syria affiliate.
ISIL jihadists on April 11 recaptured Al-Rai from rebel forces who
are allied with Al Qaida affiliate Nusra Front, according to the Syrian
Observatory for Human Rights. The town serves as a key access point for
ISIL’s supply lines from Turkey.
ISIL lost Al-Rai after heavy fighting on April 7.
The Russian military General Staff said on April 11 that Nusra Front
was massing its forces around the Syrian city of Aleppo and are planning
a large-scale offensive. Sergei Rudskoy, head of the General Staff’s
main operations command, said Nusra Front intends to cut off the road
between Aleppo and the Syrian capital of Damascus.
“Nusra and allied rebel groups are waging three synchronized
offensives” on front lines in Aleppo, Hama and Latakia provinces,
Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.
Nusra jihadists recently seized a hilltop in Latakia province, the
heartland of President Bashar Assad’s Alawite sect, Abdel Rahman said.
“This is the offensive that Nusra warned it would carry out several
Meanwhile, reports are surfacing of the slaughter of Syrian
Christians by ISIL jihadists in the Syrian town of al-Qaryatain, which
was retaken by Russian-backed Syrian forces and their allies last week.
Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II, head of the Syrian Orthodox Church,
told the BBC that 21 Christians were murdered when ISIL captured the
city last August. The patriarch said 300 Christians remained in
al-Qaryatain after ISIL moved in.
He said some died while trying to escape while others were killed for
breaking the terms of their “dhimmi contracts,” which require them to
submit to the rule of Islam. ISIL also abducted dozens of Christians and
ransomed them to their families.