Kurds push jihadists from Syria village: NGO

AFP , Wednesday 18 Sep 2013

Kurds make up around 15 percent of Syrian population and have been subjected to marginalisation and discrimination for decades

Kurdish fighters have forced jihadists to pull out of a village in northeastern Syria after clashes that left 21 dead on both sides, an NGO said Wednesday.

Fighters from the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) have been battling jihadists from the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) and Al-Nusra Front for months.

"The YPG fighters took control of the village of Aluk, to the east of the town of Ras al-Ain," on the border with Turkey, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Kurdish fighters seized the town after four days of clashes with ISIS and Al-Nusra, who had entered it from the border area, the Observatory said.

Syria's Kurds have walked a careful line between the opposition and the regime, which withdrew its forces from Kurdish areas in mid-2012.

They have occasionally fought alongside rebel forces, but have largely refrained from joining either side, focusing instead on building autonomous zones in majority-Kurdish areas.

Kurds make up around 15 percent of the Syrian population and have been subjected for decades to marginalisation and discrimination.

Elsewhere in Syria, the Observatory reported at least four air raids within five minutes in the neighbourhood of Barzeh in north of Damascus.

The area has been a rebel rear base for months, with regime forces trying to dislodge opposition fighters without success.

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