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Rebels caught in north Syria two-pronged onslaught

Syrians gather at the site of a reported barrel-bomb attack by government forces on August 13, 2014, in the rebel-held Qadi Askar neighbourhood of AleppoWestern-backed rebels in northern Syria are fighting to survive in the face of advances on their strongholds both by jihadists and government forces, analysts and regime opponents say. The opposition has sounded the alarm, appealing indirectly to the international community to carry out air strikes on jihadist Islamic State (IS) positions in Syria, like the United States has done in Iraq. The IS jihadists, who have spread terror in Syria and seized vast swathes of land in Iraq, launched a lightning offensive Wednesday in northern Aleppo province, until now the centre of rebel strength, in order to cut off the rebels’ supply route from adjoining Turkey. The jihadists, who punish their enemies with beheadings, crucifixions and stonings, on Saturday vowed their “determination to free the northern province (Aleppo) and chase out the rebels.”

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