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ISIS Heads for Syrian Opposition Grounds…Civilians Flee towards Afrin - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Beirut- Fearing ISIS breaking through and taking over the two towns of Mare and Azaz, located near Turkish borders, the Syrian Opposition reported hundreds of civilians fleeing the area and leaving for Afrin which is predominated by Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).

Turkey regards the YPG as an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has fought a three-decade insurgency for autonomy in Turkey’s largely Kurdish southeast. Washington considers the PKK a terrorist organization but backs the Syrian Kurdish forces in the fight against ISIS.

The YPG considers itself a democratic people’s army and conducts internal elections as a method of appointing officers. The group is primarily ethnic Kurdish, but it also recruits Arabs, Turks, and Westerners and has been partaking in the Syrian Civil War.

Mare and Azaz are considered the Free Syrian Army’s strongholds in the Aleppo rural areas. Syrian Opposition leaders explained that the fear of ISIS taking over the two towns stems from terrorists escaping bombardment by the Kurdish militants backed by the U.S. – led coalition. ISIS terrorists will have nowhere else to escape.

Despite the intervention of Turkish artillery and the U.S.-led coalition air campaign, which are zeroing in on ISIS concentrations and supply routes, ISIS kept advancing and attacking Syrian Opposition locations near Turkish borders.

On the other hand, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights revealed that 45 ISIS terrorists were reportedly killed by the U.S.-led coalition air bombardment and the fifth day of ongoing battles with Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in northern rural areas of Raqqa.

The SDF are an alliance of Kurdish, Arab, Assyrian, Armenian, Turkmen and Circassian militias fighting against ISIS and Al-Nusra Front in the Syrian Civil War.

The observatory pointed out that ISIS terrorists had roamed the streets of Raqqa distributing photos of U.S. soldiers fighting alongside the SDF, which was circulated by A.F.P, inciting the people against them.