Kurds push Islamic State out of Kobani after four-month battle

Kurds push Islamic State out of Kobani after four-month battle
# 27 January 2015 03:28 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. Kurdish forces took control of the Syrian town of Kobani on Monday after driving out Islamic State fighters, a monitoring group and Syrian state media said, although Washington said the four-month battle was not yet over, APA reports quoting Reuters.

Some Islamic State supporters took to Twitter to say the fight for Kobani, a focal point of the international struggle against the ultra-hardline Islamist group, was still raging.

Islamist militants launched an assault on the predominantly Kurdish town last year, using heavy weapons seized in Iraq and forcing tens of thousands of locals into exile.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) had retaken the town, close to the Turkish border, but were proceeding carefully in the eastern outskirts where Islamic State had planted mines before fleeing.

"I can see the YPG flag flying over Kobani. There are the sounds of jets flying above," said Tevfik Kanat, a Turkish Kurd who rushed to the border with hundreds of others, including refugees from Kobani, after hearing about the advance.

"People are dancing and singing, there are fireworks. Everyone feels a huge sense of relief," he said by telephone.

The Islamic State still has fighters in hundreds of nearby villages, and called on supporters on Monday to target people in the West with whatever weapons they could lay their hands on.

U.S.-led forces have carried out almost daily air strikes on Islamic State positions around the town, known as Ayn al-Arab in Arabic. It has been a frontline in the battle against the group that has captured expanses of Iraq and Syria and proclaimed an Islamic caliphate.

"The people of Ayn al-Arab were able to expel the terrorist organization Daesh from their town and control it almost completely," Syrian state news agency SANA said, citing local sources.

The Pentagon said it could not declare the battle for Kobani over, but said the Kurds had the upper hand.

"I am not prepared to say the battle there is won. The battle continues. But as of now, friendly forces ... I believe, have the momentum," spokesman Colonel Steve Warren said.

U.S. Central Command said in a statement that anti-Islamic State forces controlled about 90 percent of Kobani.

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