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Jabhat al-Nusra, the al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria, will leave many of its major positions along the front line with the Islamic State. Over the weekend, the militant group declared that it would neither oppose nor aid the upcoming Turkish- and coalition-led effort against the Islamic State in Aleppo province. Jabhat al-Nusra understands that it risks to become the main target of the so-called anti-ISIS Turkish-U.S. operation which already targeting Kurds and Assad government forces, but not ISIS.
A retreat by Jabhat al-Nusra from its positions in northern Aleppo, even if it loses territory directly under its control, is advantageous for the group in a number of ways. Probably, Jabhat al-Nusra will try to consolidate its forces on other fronts to attack Syrian government and Kurds weakened by Turkey, the United States and its “moderate rebels”.
Islamic State has been intensifying an offensive on a group of towns and villages at the heart of a so-called “ISIS free zone” U.S. and Turkish authorities say they want to establish in northern Syria. Fierce fighting erupted Tuesday Islamic extremists in the town of Marea, 25 kilometers north of Aleppo. In the past few days Islamic State forces have attacked several villages inside the proposed buffer zone, including Asenbol, al-Eion, and Hor al-Naher. in a bid to cut off Syrian rebel factions from supply lines into Turkey. Thus, the US-Turkish buffer zone became a zone of the free ISIS expantion. The U.S. and Turkishan actions to establish no-fly zone for all no-coaliton forces including Syrian government provide an additional effort for the terrorists. Furthermore, the US president Barack Obama has authorized using air power to defend U.S.-backed moderate rebels in Syria if it is attacked by Syrian government forces. Likely, the US is preparing to defend ISIS from Assad because, at the moment, it’s the only “moderate rebel group” keeping and gaining the ground in “buffer zone”.
Meanwhile, clashes between Syrian troops and militant forces have been reported around Tabliseh, Homs province. Government troops also countered an Islamic State attempt to take control of the area around Jazal oil field in Homs province. In Rif Dimashq province, government troops and Hezbollah fighters fought Islamist rebels in the area of Daraya and Zabdani. Fighting is going in the Jobar neighborhood of Damascus. In Aleppo province government forces have been clashing against Islamist rebels in the al-Rashdin, al-Sakhour and Jam’ia al-Zahraa neighborhoods.
A flurry of meetings have been taking place as stakeholders in the Syrian conflict attempt to work out a solution of the Syrian crisis. The US and its allies push for a power-sharing agreement to replace the government of Syrian President Bashar al Assad. Nonetheless, Russian Foreign Minister said that it couldn’t be a peaceful solution of the conflict without invloving Assad government and Moscow would not like to see any influential country involved in the situation around Syria hoping for a military solution to President Bashar Assad’s fate because that would mean the country would be taken over by ISIS.
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