AFP
Last updated: 31 January, 2015

Kurds battle IS jihadists around Syria’s Kobane

Kurdish forces engaged in sporadic battles with Islamic State jihadists around the Syrian town of Kobane on Saturday, seeking to expand their control in the area, a monitor said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Kurdish fighters from the People’s Protection Units (YPG) had seized a village on Saturday as they battle to expel IS from the region.

YPG fighters now control 17 of the hundreds of villages, some no more than a few houses, in the Kobane area.

Most of those recaptured have been taken since the key town on the border with Turkey was taken by Kurdish fighters on January 26.

While IS has been expelled from Kobane, its forces remain scattered throughout the countryside around the town to the southeast and southwest.

In a statement released late Friday, the YPG said it had managed to “liberate several regions” in the west of Kobane.

It said it also seized several military vehicles and captured a car bomb and weapons and ammunition from IS forces.

The recapture of Kobane was a major blow against IS, which began advancing on the town on September 16 in a bid to secure its control over a long stretch of the Syrian-Turkish border.

At one point it looked poised to overrun the town, but Kurdish forces, backed by repeated US-led air strikes, reclaimed Kobane on January 26.

In a video posted on the Internet, IS-linked media said the jihadists had withdrawn from Kobane because of the air strikes but vowed to return, the SITE monitoring group reported.

Some 200,000 people fled into Turkey from the Kobane region because of the fighting, with most unable to return for now because of the destruction caused during the violence.