ISIL militants pull back in Syria's Kobane after strikes: Monitor

ISIL militants pull back in Syria's Kobane after strikes: Monitor

BEIRUT / MÜRŞİTPINAR - Agence France-Presse
ISIL militants pull back in Syrias Kobane after strikes: Monitor

In this Oct. 6, 2014 file photo, smoke rises after a shell lands in Kobani in Syria as fighting intensifies between Syrian Kurds and the ISIL militants, as seen from the outskirts of Suruç. AP Photo / Lefteris Pitarakis

Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants withdrew from some parts of the embattled Syrian town of Kobane overnight after air strikes by a U.S.-led coalition, a monitor said Oct. 8.

Rami Abdel Rahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said "fighters from the (ISIL) withdrew overnight from several areas in the east of Ain al-Arab (Kobane) and the southwestern edges."       

After the pullback, the group's fighters were present in eastern parts of the strategic town and its southern edges, but were no longer inside on the western front, Abdel Rahman said.

He said the move came after "their rear positions were hit in strikes, causing casualties and damaging at least four of their vehicles."       

ISIL fighters entered Kobane, also known as Ain al-Arab, on Oct. 6 night, after nearly three weeks of fighting around the town on the Syrian-Turkish border.

On Oct. 7 fighting raged in the east, west and south of Kobane, which is Syria's third biggest Kurdish town, and a U.S.-led coalition fighting ISIL carried out multiple air strikes around the town.

Mustafa Ebdi, a Kurdish journalist and activist from Kobane, wrote on his Facebook page that "the streets of the Maqtala neighbourhood in southeastern Kobane are full of the bodies of Daesh fighters," using the Arabic acronym for ISIL.

But he added that hundreds of civilians remained in the town and "the humanitarian situation is difficult and people need food and water."       

ISIL began its advance on Kobane on September 16, quickly sweeping through the surrounding countryside and prompting an estimated 186,000 people to flee the region across the border into Turkey.

According to the Observatory, at least 412 people have been killed in the fighting, though the group said it believes the true toll could be twice as high.

Meanwhile, an aircraft of the international coalition carried out a new air strike against ISIL targets around Kobane on Oct. 8, an AFP correspondent reported.

The air strike sent a cloud of thick black smoke billowing into the air from a hill on the eastern side of Kobane, the correspondent reported from the Turkish border.        

It was the first air strike witnessed Oct. 8 after a flurry of strikes a day earlier which some sources said had helped Kurdish fighters push back the ISIL militants.

Idris Nahsen, a Kurdish official from Kobane, said that the air strikes had been helpful. "The situation has changed since Tuesday. YPG forces have pushed back ISIL forces," said Nahsen.

The fighting for Kobane could still be heard on the Turkish side of the border and ISIL fighters could be seen moving around the edge of the city. The black flags planted by ISIL on Oct. 6 were still in place.     

Meanwhile, the minaret of a mosque in the centre of Kobane that had been clearly visible from the Turkish side collapsed, the correspondent said. The cause was not immediately clear.