Syrian rebels seized control Thursday of ISIS’s main supply route to Turkey, a monitor said.
“Rebel factions and Islamists took control of the northeast of Al-Rai,” a town occupied by ISIS on the border between Syria and Turkey, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. “This is the main and one of the last crossing points with Turkey.”
In a related story, Syrian state TV said ISIS militants have kidnapped 300 cement workers in an area northeast of Damascus where the militants launched an assault against government forces this week.
The workers and contractors of Al Badia Cement company were taken from near the town of Dumeir and their employer had lost all contact with them, state TV quoted the industry ministry as saying.
A source in the Syrian military said ISIS’s recent attacks outside Damascus appeared to be the militant group’s response to its reverses around Palymra.
A truce has been implemented in Syria since Feb. 27. While the ceasefire has drastically reduce violence in Syria, it is fragile and does not include groups such as ISIS or Al-Qaeda’s affiliate in the country.
On Thursday, France blamed Syria’s government for a breakdown in a truce and preventing an improvement in the humanitarian situation, the foreign Ministry’s spokesman said.
“It (France) condemns the violations of the cessation of hostilities for which the regime is responsible and the restraints placed on the work of humanitarian organizations,” Romain Nadal said in a daily briefing.
He added that the situation in a number of towns besieged by the government was worrying, in particular the town of Daraya.
Meanwhile, UN mediator Staffan de Mistura said on Thursday he would travel to Damascus and Tehran and meet other regional officials to seek a common understanding on Syria's political transition, delaying the start of a round of peace talks by two days.
De Mistura said he had already heard some interesting ideas from Russia and would also consult Turkish, Saudi, Jordanian and Lebanese officials before the talks resume on April 13. He had previously aimed for a start date of April 9 and then April 11.
(With AFP and Reuters)SHOW MORE