IS takes stronghold from al-Rai

  • 11/04/2016
IS takes stronghold from al-Rai

Islamic State militants have taken back a stronghold in Syria near the border with Turkey, four days after losing it to a grouping of rebels, a monitoring group says.

The ultra-hardline Islamist group seized the town of al-Rai from factions fighting under the banner of the Free Syrian Army, part of months of back-and-forth fighting in northern Aleppo province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported on Monday (local time).

IS has declared a cross-border Islamic caliphate in Syria and neighbouring Iraq and is also battling other insurgent groups caught up in Syria's civil war, some of them backed by Turkey and Western powers.

It has made steady gains near the Azaz border crossing with Turkey since last May, but has been pushed back in a number of areas in recent months by rival rebels and Syrian government forces supported by Russian air strikes.