The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

Kurdish fighters advance against IS in Syria’s Kobani

Kurdish fighters have captured a vital zone in the Syrian border town of Kobani after fierce clashes against “Islamic State” militants, a monitoring group says. They were backed by US-led airstrikes.

Kurdish forces fighting jihadist militants from the “Islamic State” (IS) group have seized a vital district housing security and government facilities in the northern Syrian town of Kobani, an activist group said on Monday.

“The People’s Protection Units (YPG) fighting the jihadists (IS) for nearly four months have full control of the security district, ” the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Kurdish fighters now control 80 percent of the strategic border town, known in Arabic as Ayn al-Arab, the Observatory said. It added that the Kurds had been supported by at least three airstrikes carried out by a US-led coalition against IS.

The Observatory, which has been monitoring Syria’s civil war, obtains its information through a network of activists on the ground in the country.

The IS militants began their attempt to take Kobani in mid-September and quickly overran much of the town as well as many surrounding villages. Since then, Kurdish fighters have managed to recapture territory in the town, which lies on the border to Turkey, in fighting that has cost hundreds of lives on both sides.

Continuing US-led airstrikes

The US-led coalition said on Monday that it had launched 20 airstrikes against IS in Syria and Iraq on Sunday and Monday, including eight near Kobani.

In a statement, it said planes from the US and its partner nations conducted 14 strikes in Syria, among other things hitting five IS oil collection points and a crude oil pipeline near the eastern city of Dayr-az-Zawr.

The IS derives much of its money from illegal oil sales, offering prices that massively undercut the normal market rates.

In Iraq, coalition warplanes hit four units of IS fighters in six airstrikes near Mosul, al-Qaim, Ramadi and al-Asad, the statement said.

The coalition has carried out more than 1,300 airstrikes against IS since the US launched aerial operations in Iraq in early August and in Syria in late September.

tj/shs (AFP, Reuters, AP)