Kurdish fighters have taken back complete control of the Syrian border town of Kobani from jihadist "Islamic State" militants, a monitoring group says. But many people have died in fighting in and around the town.
"The Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) took back control of IS positions in Kobani," the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Saturday.
IS militants had taken several neighborhoods in the strategically important town after launching a raid on Thursday, with at least 174 civilians being either executed or killed in gunfire or rocket fire, according to the Observatory.
At least 70 combatants were also killed, the Observatory said,
The Observatory, a group of Syrian opposition activists, monitors the war in Syria through a network of contacts in the country.
Kobani, also known as Ayn al-Arab, was the focus of heavy fighting for four months last year as Kurdish forces battled to recapture the town, which is on the border to Turkey, from the Islamists. Their bid succeeded in January, but the latest offensive by the IS group, which has taken large swathes of territory both in Syria and Iraq, caught them by surprise.
Kurdish officials said the jihadists had infiltrated the town wearing Kurdish uniforms.
IS on Thursday also launched an attack on the northeastern provincial capital of Hassakeh, capturing parts of it from the Kurdish fighters and government troops that jointly control the city.
A United Nations report said on Thursday that some 60,000 people have been forced to leave their homes amid the recent attacks by the jihadists, whose military offensive has been marked by brutality and human rights abuses.
tj/rc (dpa, AFP, Reuters)