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IS intensifies attacks outside Aleppo

After news broke of the US-Turkish plan to establish a safe zone in Syria, the Islamic State stepped up operations against opposition forces in Aleppo's northern countryside.
A rebel fighter of al-Jabha al-Shamiya (the Shamiya Front) fires his weapon at the frontline against Islamic State fighters on the outskirts of Mare town, north of Aleppo March 24, 2015. REUTERS/Sultan Kitaz - RTR4UP7W
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ALEPPO — The Islamic State (IS) has been launching broad attacks against opposition-controlled areas in the countryside of Aleppo since Aug. 5, when talk began of Turkey and the US-led coalition cooperating with opposition forces to establish a “safe zone” in northern Syria. This area sits north of Aleppo, stretching from the city of Marea to near Jarablus on the Syrian-Turkish border. It would be "safe" in being emptied of IS, Syrian regime forces and fighters affiliated with the Kurdish Democratic Union Party.

The IS attacks began Aug. 9, four days after a statement by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu about the “comprehensive” battle to be waged against IS. Should the safe zone be established, it could spell doom for the extremist organization in the northern countryside of Aleppo and important strongholds, including al-Bab and Manbij, in the eastern countryside. Thus, IS appears to be trying to shuffle the cards and prevent the establishment of the zone.

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