Syrian fighters claim several villages near Aleppo

A coalition of Syrian rebel groups, including Nusra Front, make gains near strategic city of Aleppo.

    Syrian fighters have seized a town and several villages in Syria's northern Aleppo province from troops and allied Shia forces amid intense fighting.

    A coalition of rebel groups, including the Nusra Front, announced on Saturday that they had taken back control of Tal Bajer in the southwestern countryside of Aleppo, after losing it to Syrian troops backed by Lebanese Hezbollah fighters and Iranian forces two weeks ago.

    Nusra Front released drone footage that purports to show Iranian forces fleeing from rebels advancing on the town with tanks.

    But as fighting continues near the borders with Turkey, fears of a regional conflict loom large.

    Al Jazeera's Hashem Ahelbarra, reporting from Yayladagi on Turkey's border with Syria, said Turkey and Russia are divided over Syria's civil war as Russians are staunch allies of President Bashar al-Assad, while Turkey insists the Syrian president must go.

    "They believe the Russians use the fight against ISIL as a cover to bolster Assad's chances to stay in power," Ahelbarra said. "And that ISIL can only be defeated if Assad is forced out of power."

    Opposition forces have inflicted painful losses on Syrian troops and their allies in the area, successfully repelling their advances despite Russian air strikes.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    How different voting systems work around the world

    How different voting systems work around the world

    Nearly two billion voters in 52 countries around the world will head to the polls this year to elect their leaders.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    The great plunder: Nepal's stolen treasures

    The great plunder: Nepal's stolen treasures

    How the art world's hunger for ancient artefacts is destroying a centuries-old culture. A journey across the Himalayas.