On 9 April, the Islamic State began a counter-offensive against rebel forces in northern Aleppo. The Turkish backed rebel force had taken the border town of al-Rai from IS on 7 April. This left rebel forces stretched out to the east across the Syrian-Turkish border. On the 9th, IS forces launched attacks on rebel territory further west, including the rebel stronghold of Mare', and managed to take several villages closer to the border, such as al-Sheikh Rih. Islamic State news platform A'amaq Agency reported that eight rebel fighters were taken as captives.
Following these attacks on towns close to Mare' and Azaz, IS launched attacks on al-Rai and other towns that had been captured by rebel forces in the past week. As of 11 April, Islamic State fighters had reconquered about half of the territory they had recently lost.