Kurds clash with ISIS at gates of key Syrian border town

2015-06-14 20:12
(AP)

(AP)

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Beirut - Kurdish militia advanced on Sunday to the gates of a strategic jihadist-held town on Syria's northern border with Turkey amid fierce fighting with the Islamic State group, a local commander told AFP.

"The clashes are ongoing now on the eastern edges of Tal Abyad, 50m from the town. We are fighting for control of the first checkpoint," said Hussein Khojer, a commander with the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG).

Tal Abyad lies on the Syrian-Turkish border and is used by IS as a gateway from Turkey into its bastion province of Raqa.

"This advance comes after three days of very fierce fighting in the area," Khojer said, adding that several Syrian rebel factions were fighting alongside the YPG.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed the advance, telling AFP that the YPG had reached the town's southeastern edges.

"They have reached the southeastern entrance of Tal Abyad, but they have not entered the town yet," said Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman.

Both Khojer and Abdel Rahman said that ISIS fighters had attempted to halt the Kurdish offensive by blowing up two bridges just outside Tal Abyad.

"ISIS blew up the al-Jallab bridge southeast of Tal Abyad, but the water isn't deep - so the Kurdish fighters just waded across," Abdel Rahman said.

He said anti-ISIS forces had yet to push further southwest of the town.

Kurdish militia have been backed by air strikes by the US-led coalition fighting ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

Read more on:    isis  |  syria

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