Syrian Kurds claim town from Islamists

A member of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) carries a walkie talkie as others talk to one another in the west of the city of Ras al-Ain, after capturing it from Islamist rebels November 5, 2013. (Reuters)

An armed Kurdish group said it had captured a town in northeast Syria from Islamist fighters on Saturday in a battle which the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said had killed 28 people, most of them Islamists, Reuters reported.

An armed Kurdish group said it had captured a town in northeast Syria from Islamist fighters on Saturday in a battle which the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said had killed 28 people, most of them Islamists.

The People’s Protection Units, the Kurdish group, said in a statement its fighters had killed around 50 “armed mercenaries” in the battle for Tal Brak, a town located on a highway between the cities of Hassaka and Qamishli.

Rami Abdelrahman, founder of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said at least 25 fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and allied militias had been killed, together with three members of the Kurdish group.

Yabrud targeted

Meanwhile, Syria’s air force staged more air raids Saturday on the key rebel-held bastion of Yabrud north of Damascus, as clashes also raged on the capital's outskirts, Agence France-Presse reported the Observatory as saying.

The Britain-based Observatory also said that in the northeast, Kurdish fighters seized the town of Tal Barak from jihadists.

Regime forces launched a new round of aerial and tank bombardment on several areas in and around Yabrud, the main town in the Qalamun mountain range and with a mixed Muslim and Christian population, two weeks into a campaign aimed at seizing it from rebels.

The Observatory said Saturday’s attacks targeted several mountainous areas around Yabrud as well as the town itself, which was once home to some 50,000 people.

Because of the violence, some “12,800 people” have fled across the border into Lebanon’s town of Arsal in just 12 days, the UNHCR estimates.

Shiite forces from Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement are supporting the regular Syrian army in Qalamun. Hezbollah says most of the vehicles used in car bombings of its Lebanon strongholds came from Yabrud.

More than 140,000 people have been killed in Syria's nearly three-year war, and millions more have been forced to flee their homes.


(With Reuters and AFP)

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:42 - GMT 06:42
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