11 Feb 2015 – The Islamic State (IS) has withdrawn some of its insurgents and equipment from areas northeast of the Syrian city of Aleppo, rebels and residents say.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said IS had sent fighters from Aleppo to reinforce front lines with Kurdish forces and allied Syrian opposition groups that had seized the initiative of the Kobani defeat to launch new attacks on the group.

The group, which has recently lost ground to Kurdish and Syrian government forces elsewhere in Syria, has pulled fighters and hardware from several villages in areas northeast of Aleppo, they said. But it has not fully withdrawn from area. The Observatory said IS had redeployed forces from Aleppo province to join battles further east with Kurdish forces and mainstream rebel groups. “There are tactical withdrawals. It’s not a complete withdrawal,” said the leader of a mainstream rebel group, citing contacts in IS-held areas near Aleppo. At least 70 IS fighters have been killed by an escalation of the strikes since the group released a video showing it burning a captive Jordanian pilot to death last week, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.