World Bulletin / News Desk
ISIL has captured a number of villages near Aleppo in a lightning attack that brought them closer to the prized city in northern Syria, despite a major increase in Russian airstrikes that Moscow insists are targeting the group reports Al Jazeera.
The advance on Friday, which brings ISIL to within a few miles of Aleppo, has been the most significant development in months, following what has largely been a summer of stalemate in the country's conflict.
The gains come after Russian airstrikes targeted fighters trying to topple President Bashar al-Assad, and a ground offensive by the Syrian army in the country's central region.
Moscow says it is targeting mainly ISIL fighters, but US officials and Syrian rebels have said the strikes have hit "moderate" fighters for the most part and are aimed at shoring up Assad's embattled government and troops.
Many of the rebel groups hit by the Russian airstrikes are also at war with ISIL.
"Everyone who wants to fight the rebels says that they are coming to fight ISILwhile in fact they want to fight the rebels," said Bahaa al-Halaby, an activist based in the city of Aleppo, using an Arabic acronym for the group.
Halaby said the Russians have not carried out attacks against ISIL in Aleppo, which is split between government forces and various rebel groups. "They are trying to finish off the rebels," he said.
Other activists wondered where the US military were.
"Why didn't America attack ISIL fighters during their attack?" asked Rami Abdurrahman, director of the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Last Mod: 10 Ekim 2015, 09:37