Kurdish militia gears up efforts to clear ISIL from villages around Kobane
İdris Emen KOBANE
AFP PhotoSyrian Kurdish militias, who drove out Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants from the center of Kobane after 134 days of battle, are launching operations into the villages surrounding the Syrian border town in a bid to clear the last frontiers of the battle from the Islamists.
A total of 27 villages in the periphery of the town have already been completely cleared of the Islamist militants, as the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) fighters took to the offensive to take full control of the town that has been a symbolic battlefield in the fight against ISIL, which has seized a swath of Iraq and Syria.
ISIL militants retreated gradually from the center of the town, around 90 percent of which went to rack and ruin, moving towards peripheral villages, instead of directly returning to regions it still holds control of, like northern Syrian provinces Raqqa or Tal Abyad.
Kurdish militia, backed by Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga forces and the United States-led anti-ISIL coalition, are therefore continuing their assault on the villages surrounding Kobane to prevent any potential attack from ISIL.
In addition to their strategic importance, the surrounding villages are crucial for agriculture and livestock breeding, as the rest of the town was reduced to a mass of rubble and gutted buildings.
Some 200,000 Kobane residents, who fled to Turkey due to the attacks of jihadist militants, are awaiting their return to the war-torn city.
As living a normal life under these circumstances is far from possible, the town is vitally dependent on the glimpse of a possibility to stand on its feet economically.
However, YPG Kobane Command Spokesperson Shorsh Hassan has said the satellite villages, which remained relatively unharmed during the battle, have been looted by ISIL.
“Residents returning to their villages under these current conditions looks very difficult,” he said. “These villages are vitally important for the people of Kobane who need help.”