Syria-Turkish border
Smoke rises after an airstrike on a rebel-held town near the Syrian-Turkish border, Syria, 6 AprilReuters

Fighting raged overnight between Islamic State militants and Free Syrian Army fighters as the Islamist force made rapid incursions into town and villages near the Turkish border.

The gains by Isis follow the recapture of al-Rai a vital border town in Northern Syria on 11 April. The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that clashes continued into the morning (14 April) as Islamic State took control of Hawar Kells and a slew of other nearby settlements.

Following a counter attack by moderate Free Syria Army forces during air raids by coalition forces, the Islamic State appears to have attacked internal displacement camps near the Turkish border. Images of burning tents and reports of civilian casualties have emerged on social media amid reports of an exodus from the camps.

The attacks near the Turkish border come as the Assad Regime amasses its strength for an assault on the city of Aleppo itself. The Times reported the likely offensive would maker the end of an eight- week ceasefire in Syria which has allowed for the provision of much-needed humanitarian assistance in the besieged areas.

Hundreds of fighters from the Syrian army and supporting militias are moving to southern Aleppo from Latakia. Colonel Suheil al-Hassan, head of the Tiger forces paramilitary group, has been named as commander for the offensive.

Syrian activists and state media are reporting an exchange of shelling in the northern city of Aleppo as peace talks in Geneva. Government warplanes, helicopter gunships and artillery have been bombarding rebel-held parts of the city, AP reported.

The pro-government Addounia TV says one person was killed and five were wounded by mortar rounds fired by insurgents into the predominantly Kurdish Sheikh Maqsoud district of the city.

Aleppo has seen sporadic clashes despite a US-Russia-engineered ceasefire that went into effect in late February.