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Kurdish forces take control of Kobani

27 January 2015

Kurdish forces took control of the Syrian town of Kobani yesterday after driving out Islamic State fighters, according to a monitoring group and the Syrian state media, but according to Washington, the four-month battle was not yet over.

However, a number of IS supporters who took to Twitter, said the fight for Kobani, a focal point of the international struggle against the ultra-hardline Islamist group, continued to rage.

Last year, the Kurdish town came under intense attack from Islamic militants who used heavy weapons seized in Iraq and forced tens of thousands of locals into exile.

According to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) had retaken the town, close to the Turkish border. But the forces were proceeding carefully in the eastern outskirts which had been extensively mined by fleeing IS forces.

Reuters quoted one Tevfik Kanat, a Turkish Kurd who rushed to the border with hundreds of others, including refugees from Kobani, after hearing about the advance as saying, he could see the YPG flag flying over Kobani, adding he heard the sounds of jets flying above.

He said by telephone that people were dancing and singing and there were fireworks, adding everyone felt a huge sense of relief.

Meanwhile, AP reported Kurdish fighters backed by intense US-led airstrikes seized the town from Islamic State group, marking a major defeat for the extremists whose hopes for an easy victory when they pushed into Kobani last year dissolved into a bloody, costly and months-long siege.

With their victory nearing, the Kurdish troops earlier in the day raised their flag on a hill overlooking the town just across the border with Turkey, replacing the black banner of the Islamic State group.

The success on the battlefield comes as a major conquest both for Syria's embattled Kurds as also the US-led coalition, whose US coordinator had predicted that the Islamic State group would "impale itself on Kobani".

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