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Islamist alliance takes Syrian city of Idlib

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By Keith Walker  with REUTERS
Islamist alliance takes Syrian city of Idlib

An alliance of Islamist forces, rivals of the group calling itself Islamic State (ISIL), have seized the Syrian city of Idlib close to the Turkish border.

It is the second city to fall from the Assad regime into the hands of hardliners after ISIL captured Raqqa.

“They have entered the city from several sides but the major push was from the northern and western sides,” said Rami Abdelrahman of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based group which monitors the civil war.

The Islamist alliance calls its operation Army of Fatah, a reference to the conquests that spread Islam across the Middle East from the seventh century, and includes the al-Nusra Front, the Ahrar al-Sham movement, and Jund al-Aqsa.

Hundreds of thousands of displaced people had fled to Idlib from other parts of Syria.Now civilians are said to be desperately trying to escape the city.

Meanwhile the US military said on Saturday (March 28) that US and coalition forces conducted airstrikes against ISIL fighters in Iraq and Syria.

A military statement said the Syria strikes, all near Kobani, hit two ISIL tactical units, and destroyed three vehicles and two anti-aircraft machine guns.