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  • The leader of a major rebel brigade, Abu Obaida Al Masri, gave his troops orders to withdraw from the town of Azaz.

    According to activists in the area, Al Masri withdrew his forces to avoid fighting Islamic State (IS) fighters.

    Al Masri's brigade is a member of Ahrar Al Sham, but activists say he has been distancing himself from Ahrar al Sham's central command and disobeyed direct orders on many occasions.

    IS has recently been pushing from East Aleppo country side towards the west and has taken large parts of rebel territory.

    Almost completely surrounded by the regime in Aleppo city and hit by IS attacks from the eastern countryside, rebels find themselves weakened, outnumbered and outgunned. 

    In the past days other rebel groups such as Soqour Al Islam brigades and even Al Qaeda's affiliate, Al Nusra Front, have been withdrawing troops from Aleppo.

    In social media, IS members have been promising to take back the territories they lost to the
    rebels back in January when infighting broke out.
    Tweets and Facebook posts made by IS fighters have been promoting what they call "the return" and set the date to the coming month of September .

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