ISIS forced out of Kobane

Kurdish fighters seized the embattled town in full

Kurds raise their flag in Kobane. (AFP/Ahmed Deeb)

BEIRUT – Kurdish troops on Monday notched a major symbolic blow to the Islamic State group, taking full control of Kobane after months of battles against ISIS.


Kurdish People’s Protection Unit (YPG) units “took full control over the town of Kobane following violent clashes with ISIS that lasted 112 days,” the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Monday afternoon.


“YPG units are still combing some houses in the eastern suburbs of the town, and dismantling and detonating [left over] explosive devices,” it added.


SOHR director Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP that “the Kurds are pursuing some jihadists on the eastern outskirts of Kobane, but there is no more fighting inside now.”


Kurdish Rudaw News agency also said that Kurds had taken full control of the city, however neither the YPG or the party it belongs to, the Kurdish Democratic Union Party, have yet to issue official statements on the developments.


Earlier in the day, the SOHR reported that Kurds were in control of 90% of Kobane.


The monitoring group cited “reliable sources” as saying that YPG fighters led by Mahmoud Barkhadan were pressing an offensive in the city’s Kani Erban area and had advanced in the Maqtalah neighborhood, forcing ISIS back to the eastern outskirts of Kobane.


Meanwhile, Al-Jazeera reported earlier Monday that ISIS fighters were “withdrawing their heavy weaponry from the town.”


Monday’s YPG victory in the town comes a week after Kurdish troops captured Mishtenur Hill overlooking Kobane, following fierce clashes in which the SOHR said 11 ISIS troops were killed.


Mishtenur, south of the embattled town, was one of the key strategic points in the battlefield, allowing YPG troops to target ISIS supply lines into Kobane, the monitor said in its report last week.


The battle for Kobane began in mid-September when ISIS fighters launched an offensive that saw them seize over 300 villages in the area, displacing hundreds of thousands of Kurds.


ISIS’ lightning advance saw the jihadist group sweep into the town itself, where it faced stiff Kurdish resistance as well as an up-tempo in coalition airstrikes.


By mid-November, Kurdish troops began a counteroffensive as ISIS suffered increasing casualties. 


According the SOHR, the bombardment of Kobane and the clashes between the YPG and ISIS have resulted in the death of 1313 fighters, including 979 ISIS members, 38 of whom were suicide bombers who exploded themselves in the city and its surroundings.


"324 fighters from the YPG and 12 fighters from [other] rebel groups have been killed in the clashes," the group added.

Kurds on Monday retook full control over Kobane. (AFP/Ahmed Deeb)

YPG units are still combing some houses in the eastern suburbs of the town, and dismantling and detonating [left over] explosive devices.