A picture taken on Sept. 1, 2015 shows smoke billowing on the outskirts of Marea in the northern Syrian Aleppo district during fighting between opposition fighters and ISIS. AFP PHOTO / ZAKARIYA AL-KAFI
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ISIS fighters have seized villages close to the city of Aleppo from rival insurgents, an activist group said on Friday, despite a Russian air-and-sea campaign that Moscow says has targeted the militant group.The Russian defense ministry said airstrikes on rebel positions in northern Syria had killed 300 anti-Assad insurgents in nearly 70 sorties over the last day. Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard Corps said separately one of its generals had been killed late on Thursday near Aleppo, once Syria's most populous city.As the operation in the west pushed ahead, ISIS said its fighters had captured five villages in its northern offensive and killed more than 10 soldiers or militiamen.Russian warplanes and warships have been bombarding targets across Syria for 10 days in a campaign Moscow says is targeting ISIS fighters, who control large parts of eastern Syria and of neighboring Iraq.But the campaign appears to have mainly struck other rebel groups, some of which had been battling to stop the ISIS advance across Aleppo province. The Russian defense ministry said it flew 67 sorties in the last 24 hours.Several senior Guard commanders have been killed in Syria.
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