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.