Members of al Qaeda’s Nusra Front and other Sunni Islamists seized an area south of a Shi’ite Muslim village in northSyria on Sunday after clashes with pro-government fighters, opposition activists said.

The insurgents advanced overnight on al-Zahra, north of Aleppo city, seizing territory to the south and also trying to take land to the east in an attempt to capture the village, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Al-Zahra and the nearby village of Nubl have been under a long siege by anti-government forces in an isolated Shi’ite area. TheUnited Nations said in March that armed groups surrounding the villages had cut electrical and water lines supplying 45,000 residents. The army has used helicopters to drop supplies to the villagers. […]