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Jabha al-Shamiyah rebels agree with IS to stop Syrian Arab Army's advance in Aleppo

DAMASCUS, Feb. 7 (Xinhua) -- The Jabha al-Shamiyah, or Levant Front, rebel group has concluded a truce with the Islamic State (IS) and decided to join force to face the advance of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) in the northern province of Aleppo, pan-Arab al-Mayadeen TV reported on Sunday.

Both rival parties have agreed to a cessation of hostility, exchange of prisoners, and allowing the flow of weapons and fighters between areas under their respective control in northern Aleppo, according to the report.

The agreement came to stop the advance of the Syrian army and allies fighters in the northern countryside of Aleppo, which is witnessing intense battles coupled by the sweeping progress of the Syrian army backed by the Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah group.

The Jabha al-Shamiyah is a coalition of northern Aleppo-based rebel factions involved in the Syrian Civil War. Its membership includes the major Sunni Islamist groups operating in northern Syria, representing a spectrum of ideologies from hardline Salafism to apolitical factions linked to the Western-backed Free Syrian Army rebels. It was formed in December 2014.

The news came as the Syrian army has been only 13 km away from Turkish borders, following the sweeping progress against militant groups in the northern countryside of Aleppo.

After capturing the towns of Ratyan and Mayer a couple of days ago, the Syrian army is moving toward the strategic town of Tal Rifat, another rebel bastion on the borders with Turkey.

The army is only seven km from Tal Rifat, said the report, adding that over 300 militants with the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front had been killed during the recent battles in Mayer and Ratyan, both constitutes weapon depots and key supply lines for the rebel from neighboring Turkey.

The Syrian army's wide-scale offensive in Aleppo aims at cutting the rebels supply lines from Turkey and separate the northern countryside of Aleppo from its city to further isolate the rebels, as a step to retake Aleppo, Syria's largest city.

The military forces' campaign in Aleppo is taking place with the backing of the Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah group and heavy Russian air cover, both key elements behind the sweeping advance of the Syrian army against the Turkey-backed militants in Aleppo.

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