Islamic State retakes north Syrian town al-Rai from rebels | world | Hindustan Times
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Islamic State retakes north Syrian town al-Rai from rebels

world Updated: Apr 11, 2016 21:09 IST
Islamic State

Syrian soldier sets fire to an Islamic State (IS) group flag after Syrian troops regained control the previous day of al-Qaryatain, a town in the province of Homs in central Syria. IS regained control of the Al-Rai town in north Syria.(AFP)

Islamic State fighters retook control of a northern town along Syria’s border with Turkey on Monday, just days after losing it to rebel forces and allied militants, opposition activists said.

The recapture of al-Rai shows the Islamic State group is still capable of launching counterattacks even as the extremists come under pressure on different fronts in areas IS controls in Iraq and Syria.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the Aleppo Today TV station said the IS extremists captured al-Rai early on Monday morning after intense fighting for the frontier town.

Al-Rai is strategically located on the border with Turkey, serving as the Islamic State group’s access point to supply lines. It also sits along the road to the IS stronghold in Aleppo province.

Map of Syria locating Al-Rai, which was recaptured from the Islamic State group. (AFP)

The Observatory’s chief Rami Abdurrahman said IS fighters also captured six villages near al-Rai on Monday. IS lost the town last Thursday after an offensive by rebels and militant groups allied with them, including al-Qaida’s branch in Syria known as the Nusra Front.

IS has lost wide areas in Iraq and Syria recently, including the historic central town of Palmyra that was captured by Syrian government forces and their allies recently.

The extremists have also suffered leadership setbacks as US drone strikes in Syria have killed several top IS and Nusra Front commanders and key figures in recent weeks.