ISIS fighters capture 60 Kurdish villages in Syria

Free Syrian Army fighters stand at a former base used by fighters from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), after ISIS withdrew from the town of Azaz, near the Syrian–Turkish border, on March 11. (Reuters)

Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) extremists have seized 60 Kurdish villages near the Turkish border in a lightning two-day campaign, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Friday.

“In the past 48 hours, they have taken 60 villages, 40 on Friday alone,” said Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman, referring to the operation around Ain al-Arab, known to the Kurds as Kobane.

“The Kurdish fighters are beating a retreat because they are outnumbered.”

On Thursday, Kurdish PKK militants called on Turkish Kurds to join the fight against ISIS in northern Syria.

“The youth of northern Kurdistan (southeast Turkey) should go to Kobane (Ayn al-Arab) and take part in the historic, honorable resistance,” the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) said in a statement on its website.

The latest clashes across the border were a fresh headache for NATO member Turkey, which has made clear it is reluctant to play any frontline role in U.S. President Barack Obama’s plans to bomb ISIS fighters in Syria and Iraq.

The latest advance by the militant group comes as unmanned surveillance aircrafts flew over the ISIS controlled areas of the Syrian province of Aleppo, where the radical group has evacuated most of its bases, a group which tracks the war in Syria reported on Thursday.


Rami Abdulrahman, who runs the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said multiple sources in northeastern Aleppo had spotted at least one drone over towns including al-Bab and Manbij. "They hadn't seen them before," he told Reuters by telephone.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:44 - GMT 06:44
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