A man with a weapon holds an Islamist flag during a protest against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Bustan al-Qasr district in Aleppo

Not bad for a JV team.

ALEPPO – Backed by Islamist rebels of Ahrar al-Sham, militant fighters of the al-Qaeda branch in Syria, al-Nusra Front, reported new gains against forces loyal to the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the northern Aleppo province.

Nusra militants and allied rebels of Ahrar al-Sham hit positions of the Syrian army in the southern countryside of Aleppo on Friday, forcing the latter to withdraw from the strategic town of Blouziya.

Mustafa Sulaiman, a spokesman for the al-Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front in Aleppo, told ARA News that their fighters stormed headquarters of the pro-Assad troops in Blouziya after hitting their fighting positions with heavy artillery shelling.

“Our rebels were eventually able to capture the town of Blouziya, which was one of the most strategic strongholds for the pro-Assad militias in southern Aleppo. The town has for long served as a supply route for Assad army between Hama and Aleppo,” Sulaiman said.

The Qaeda spokesman added in an exclusive interview with ARA News that more than 15 pro-Assad soldiers were killed in the clashes in the vicinity of Blouziya.