Syrian Kurdish forces expel Islamic State from Kobane: Monitor

AFP , Saturday 27 Jun 2015

Kurdish fighters
Kurdish fighters gesture while carrying their parties' flags in Tel Abyad of Raqqa governorate after they said they took control of the area June 15, 2015 (Photo: Reuters)

Kurdish fighters ousted the Islamic State group from the Syrian border town of Kobane on Saturday, two days after the jihadists had seized several neighbourhoods, a monitor and activists said.

IS's bloody attack on the town had left at least 174 civilians dead as well as 70 combatants, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

"The Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) took back control of IS positions in Kobane," the Britain-based group said.

"The YPG were able to take back the town's boys' high school, where the last of the IS fighters were holed up, after setting off explosions."

The jihadist group entered Kobane at dawn on Thursday, seizing several buildings in the town's south and southwest.

Hours later, YPG reinforcements encircled the IS positions -- where the jihadists were holding civilians -- and slowly began retaking control of the buildings.

Local journalist Rudi Mohammad Amin told AFP that "all of Kobane is again under the control of the YPG."

"The YPG detonated explosives outside of the school, then stormed it," Amin said, speaking via the Internet from a position near Kobane.

"This military operation was carried out after ensuring that there were no civilians left in the school," he added.

Amin said he believed all the IS fighters in the school were killed.

According to the Observatory, which monitors the war in Syria through a network of contacts on the ground, YPG fighters and members of the Kurdish security forces were searching the town for any remaining jihadists.

At least 174 civilians were killed in the jihadists' assault on Kobane, 148 of them in the town itself.

At least 16 Kurdish fighters were killed and 54 jihadists.

Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman, said the death toll was still mounting as Kurdish forces discovered more bodies.

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