MIDDLE EAST

ISIS loses ground to Kurds in Syria’s Kobane

Three Islamic State fighters pray (bottom) as another runs to the top of a hill in the outskirts of Syrian town of Kobani, as seen from the Mursitpinar crossing on the Turkish-Syrian border in the southeastern town of Suruc. (File photo: Reuters)

ISIS militant group has lost ground in the Syrian border town of Kobane, where Kurdish fighters now control more than 60 percent of territory, a monitoring group said Saturday.

The strategically located town on the border with Turkey has become a major symbol of resistance against ISIS, which has seized large parts of Syria and Iraq, committing widespread atrocities.

The jihadists launched a major offensive in mid-September to try to capture Kobane, and at one point controlled more than half of the town, known in Arabic as Ain al-Arab.

But supported by U.S.-led air strikes and reinforced by Kurds from Iraq, “Kurdish forces now control more than 60 percent of the city,” said Rami Abdel Rahman, director of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

“ISIS has even left areas that the Kurds did not enter for fear of mines,” he added.

A Kurdish activist from Kobane, Mustefa Ebdi, said that Kurdish militia defending the town had advanced eastwards on the frontline during the past week.

ISIS has withdrawn from the seized Kurdish militia headquarters in the north of the city, as well as from southern and central districts, according to activists.

“The Kurdish advance is due largely to the air strikes by the coalition,” said Ebdi.

“The jihadists are now using tunnels after failing in their tactics of car bombs and explosive belts,” he said.

Dozens of IS fighters have carried out suicide bomb attacks in Kobane in the face of fierce Kurdish resistance.

More than 1,000 people are reported to have been killed in the battle for the town, most of them jihadists.

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Last Update: Saturday, 27 December 2014 KSA 18:48 - GMT 15:48
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ISIS loses ground to Kurds in Syria’s Kobane
The Observatory says Kurdish fighters now control more than 60 percent of the border town
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