Syria Kurds seize from ISIL a third of villages around Kobane: monitor
BEIRUT - Agence France-Presse
A photo taken on January 30, 2015 shows a general view of the eastern part of the destroyed Syrian town of Kobane. AFP PhotoSyrian Kurdish forces have recaptured more than a third of the villages around Kobane from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) since routing the jihadists from the town a fortnight ago, a monitor said Feb. 8.
"The [Kurdish] People's Protection Units [YPG] have recaptured 128 villages out of some 350 in the past two weeks," said Syrian Observatory for Human Rights director Rami Abdel Rahman.
The YPG recaptured Kobane on the border with Turkey from ISIL jihadists on January 26, after four months of fierce fighting backed by Syrian rebels and US-led coalition air strikes.
"The ISIL withdrew from villages east and south of Kobane mostly without resistance, but fought hard to try to keep control of villages to the west," said Abdel Rahman.
"That's because it wants to try to protect areas under its control in Aleppo province. But the Kurds are steadily advancing," he told AFP.
The US-led coalition has been carrying out strikes against the ISIL jihadists in Syria since September.
In recent days, it has continued to pound ISIL positions around Kobane, while YPG troops backed by Syrian rebels press the fight on the ground.