The Free Syrian Army (FSA) yesterday forced members of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) to withdraw from the village of Hazano in the Rif Idlib area, following violent clashes which led to the killing of ISIS field commander, Emir Abu Abdullah Al-Libi and 12 of his men, according to activists.
Hamza Habboush, FSA field commander in Idlib, informed Asharq Al-Awsat that members of ISIS launched an attack on opposition forces fighting in the Idlib villages.
Habboush said ISIS fighters tried to storm the village of Hazano but were forced back by the FSA, adding that six civilians from the village were killed during the clashes with the Fudoul Alliance, which is affiliated to the FSA.
The Idlib clashes follow similar incidents in recent days in the Aazaz area between ISIS and members of the FSA's North Storm Brigade, after the latter refused to hand over a German doctor who ISIS accused of taking pictures of its base in the town close to the Turkish border. Both sides agreed a truce, mediated by the Tawhid Brigade, one of the largest opposition factions in the Aleppo region.
However the North Storm Brigade said ISIS had failed to meet the second part of the truce agreement which stipulated the release of all detainees, releasing only nine.The North Storm Brigade issued a statement which said: "If ISIS has not fulfilled these conditions 48 hours after the end of a deadline to implement the agreement, we will consider the agreement broken." This could restart hostilities between the two sides.
Syrian youth activists launched an online campaign against ISIS, entitled 'ISIS doesn't represent me.'
"I hope Azaz turns into ISIS's burial ground," tweeted one Syrian youth activist, according to AFP.
"They failed against the Americans in Afghanistan, and against the Iranians in Iraq. Now they are here to bully the Syrians, who are fighting a criminal regime," tweeted another.
Meanwhile, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said ISIS had also clashed with the Al-Nusra Front, when they stormed one of their bases in the Hasaka region, in northeast Syria two days ago. Activists said the base was not heavily occupied because the men were busy fighting against Kurdish People's Protection Units which belong to the Kurdish Democratic Union.
The FSA, in the meantime, continued to fight the Syrian government forces, announcing it had taken control of four new villages in Aleppo Governorate, two days after taking control of seven other villages in the region, according to the activists.
The advances made by the opposition come within a massive military operation which aims to surround the Al-Safirah defense factories, one of the largest arms and ammunition supply centers for government forces in the northern region. This has forced government forces to defend villages on the route between the defense factories and Aleppo airport.