Syrian rebels launch fresh offensive against ISIS


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A newly formed U.S.-backed Syrian rebel alliance on Saturday launched an offensive against ISIS in the northeast province of Hasaka, a day after the United States said it would send special forces to advise insurgents fighting the militants.

It was the first declared operation by the Democratic Forces of Syria, which joins together a U.S.-backed Kurdish militia and several Syrian Arab rebel groups, since it announced its formation earlier this month.

World powers and regional rivals are convening in Vienna to seek a solution to the four-year conflict in Syria that has escalated since Russia intervened a month ago with an intense air campaign.

Fighting in Hasaka had begun after midnight, a spokesman for the alliance said. A group monitoring the war reported fighting and coalition air strikes in the area.

A video posted earlier on Youtube announced the offensive in southern Hasaka, and showed several dozen men in fatigues standing outdoors with yellow flags and banners carrying the name of the Democratic Forces of Syria in Arabic and Kurdish.

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