BEIRUT - The Islamic State jihadist group made gains in northern Syria on Saturday from both government forces and their rebel opponents, a monitoring group said.The northern province of Aleppo borders Turkey and is criss-crossed with supply routes that are strategic for practically all of Syria's warring sides. On Saturday, IS fighters seized another border village in their offensive against non-jihadist rebel groups in the province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The IS counterattack has rolled back rebel gains in the border area, which had seen advance them from Azaz, a town eight kilometres (five miles) south of the Turkish border, towards IS bastions further east. "The IS gains have cut off opposition territory around Azaz from rebels in the town of Dudyan further east," Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said. "Now the rebels in Dudyan are practically surrounded by IS." The jihadist group also advanced against government forces near Khanasser, a battleground town southeast of Aleppo that has changed hands several times.

The road through Khanasser is the sole link between government-held areas in and around Aleppo and those in the rest of the country.