Kurds Take Back Strategic Town From ISIS

Kurdish YPG troops backed by Assyrian Christians and coalition airstrikes take Tal Hamis on border of Turkey and Iraq.

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People's Protection Units (YPG) fighters celebrate in Syria's northeasten city of Qamishli, northwest of Tal Hamis, on February 27, 2015.
People's Protection Units (YPG) fighters celebrate in Syria's northeasten city of Qamishli, northwest of Tal Hamis, on February 27, 2015.Credit: AFP

Kurdish fighters had retaken a strategic town in north-eastern Syria from the Islamic State and are pushing to drive out the militant group from the area, activists said on Saturday.

The Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), backed by Assyrian Christians and US-led coalition warplanes, early Saturday took control of the town of Tal Hamis in the province of al-Hassakeh bordering Turkey and Iraq, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.

Tal Hamis is important for Islamic State as it links the areas controlled by the jihadist militia in Syria and neighboring Iraq.

Redur Xelil, a YPG spokesman, hailed the recapture of Tel Hamis as "a great victory."

"This is a great victory for our fighters because it cuts a key supply route for Daesh from Iraq," he told dpa by phone, using an Arabic name for Islamic State.

He added that Kurdish fighters were advancing against extremists in neighbouring towns.

Earlier this week, Islamic State launched a wide-scale attack in the area and abducted more than local 280 Assyrian Christians whose fate is still unclear.

Rami Abdel Rahman, the head of the Britain-based Observatory, said fighting was under way on Saturday between YPG militiamen and extremists in the town of Tal Barak, an Islamic State stronghold located around 10 kilometres from Tal Hamis.

"Defeat in Tal Hamis is the worst suffered by Islamic State since Kobane," he told dpa.

Last month, the Kurdish fighters dislodged Islamic State insurgents from the mostly Kurdish town of Kobane in northern Syria close to the Turkish border after months of battling.

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