Aleppo continues to be worn down by Russian airstrikes and Daesh has attempted to take areas near the Turkish border. Instability in Syria increasingly means aid routes being cut off and medical facilities evacuated and understaffed. Daesh hopes to expand their territory near the Turkish borber, where up to 100,000 civilians are trapped.
They are targeting these areas after coming under sustained pressure in both the Iraqi city of Fallujah and their de facto capital Raqqa. Whilst seriously weakened in Fallujah, having possibly just 700 fighters, the group is now trying to gain territory from Syrian rebels. Azaz and Marea are under threat from Daesh takeover. These towns are of key strategic importance to the rebels, as they control major supply lines from Turkey.
Médecins Sans Frontières has evacuated its medical facility in the northern Syrian town of al-Salamah, now under two miles from the Isis frontline. “For some months, the frontlines have been around 7km away from the hospital. Now it is only 3km... There is nowhere for people to flee to as the fighting gets closer.”
The countryside north of Aleppo is an increasingly fraught area with rebels, government troops and Kurdish groups vying for control. Meanwhile peace talks have completely broken down. The chief negotiator of Syria’s main opposition umbrella group, Mohammed Alloush, has announced his resignation, claiming that the regime’s continuation of bombing and aggression makes any agreement meaningless. Since the start of the civil war more than 250,000 Syrians have been killed, and an estimated 11 million people have been displaced.