Syrian Kurds force ′IS′ retreat | News | DW | 02.02.2015
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Syrian Kurds force 'IS' retreat

Kurdish YPG forces have captured more territory surrounding Kobani that had been taken by "Islamic State" terrorists. The jihadists' force in the area is collapsing, said the YPG.

The Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), aided by the US-led airstrikes, has made significant advances against "Islamic State" (IS) in the area surrounding the city of Kobani after driving the group from the city last week, the Kurdish militia and a monitoring group confirmed Monday. A string of villages fell to the YPG as IS withdrew.

IS "is in a state of complete collapse at present and cannot hold ground," Redur Xelil, spokesman for the YPG, told news agency Reuters. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said that the jihadists were putting up very little resistance in the face of the Kurdish advance, and it was possible they would retreat even further.

Rami Abdulrahman, head of the SOHR, said that having lost 2,000 fighters in the struggle for Kobani, IS was unable to open new fronts. "I expect a continued retreat in the Kobani rural area," Abdulrahman told the media, "after that, there might be clashes in the outskirts of Raqqa."

On to Raqqa

The YPG said it had 50,000 troops deployed in three mostly Kurdish areas of northern Syria, and with the help of the US-led coalition as well as Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga forces, they had driven IS from Kobani and would hopefully advance to Raqqa.

Although Kobani had little strategic battle, its hard-won wresting from the hands of IS marked the first example of direct US support for ground forces fighting the terrorist group in Syria. As part of its strategy to fight the militants, the United States is also planning to train and equip non-jihadist rebels, though they account for only a portion of the fighters battling President Bashar al-Assad.

The US has ruled out any cooperation with Assad, saying his regime is part of the problem.

es/rc (AP, Reuters)

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