Islamic State has withdrawn some of its insurgents and equipment from areas northeast of the Syrian city of Aleppo, rebels and residents say, adding to signs of strain in the Syrian provinces of its self-declared caliphate.

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 But it has not fully withdrawn from area.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 Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which tracks the war using a network of sources on the ground, said Islamic State had redeployed forces from Aleppo province to join battles further east with Kurdish forces and mainstream rebel groups. […]