ISIS, Syrian regime forces clash south of Hasaka

The Syrian regime has already lost Raqqa to ISIS militants and Idlib to other rebel factions

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The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group fought fierce battles Friday with Syria’s armed forces in a bid to seize control of Hasaka, a key provincial capital in the country’s northeast.

“Fierce clashes continued Friday between regime forces and ISIS south of Hasaka city. The regime is violently and intensely bombarding jihadist positions from the air,” the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The Syrian regime has already lost Raqqa to ISIS militants and Idlib to other rebel factions.

According to Rami Abdel-Rahman, director of the Syrian Observatory, ISIS militants are “500 meters away from the entrance of Hasaka, after fierce clashes against regime forcers south of the city.”

Control of the city is divided between regime and Kurdish forces who have confronted ISIS in other areas of the province of Hasaka.

A dozen explosive-packed trucks have been blown up by ISIS bombers at Syrian army checkpoints around Hasaka over the past five days, the governor said on Thursday according to Reuters.

“More than thirteen explosive-laden vehicles have attacked army checkpoints and sowed terror and fear among citizens,” City Governor Mohammad Zaal al Ali told state television by telephone from inside the city.

ISIS has been stepping up lightning attacks on the southern edge of the ethnically mixed city, which is divided into zones run separately by the government of President Bashar al-Assad and a Kurdish administration.

The Kurds have a well-organized militia which receives air support from a U.S.-led alliance and has been pushing back the militants further north west along the Turkish border.

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