ISIS fighters wrested control a district in the northeastern Syrian city of Hasaka from Syrian regime forces in overnight fighting, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) monitoring organisation said on Thursday.
Syrian State TV, SANA, said that ISIS fighters entered the Western Nashwa district taking control of several neighbourhoods. SANA, earlier denied reports of the group advance in Hasakah, saying that the army had repelled the attack.
Hasaka, is divided into separate zones. Parts of the city are run by the Syrian regime while other parts of the city are under control of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its armed Kurdish Peoples Protection Units (YPG) branch.
Bilateral shelling accompanied the clashes between the two sides as well as intense air strikes on ISIS positions, SOHR said.
According to SOHR, more than 30 regime soldiers were killed in the clashes and about 20 ISIS fighters, amid ongoing attempts by ISIS to advance and seize more positions inside the city.
ISIS is also carrying out attacks on the YPG fighters in the northern turkish border town of Kobane killing at least 12 and injuring dozens in a car bombing on Thursday.
On Tuesday, ISIS launched two attacks in Hasakah city, killing 10 and injuring dozens when three bombers targeted a key Syrian army security compound while another attacker blew himself up in the Kurdish region of the city, at a police station run by the YPG.
On June 21, Syrian Kurdish groups captured border town of Tal Abyad which lies near the Turkish border from ISIS with the support of US-led air strikes.
Capturing Tal Abyad means that ISIS effectively controls some 400 kilometres of the Syrian-Turkish border. The YPG now controls the border from Syria’s northeastern most point to the town of Jarabulus ISIS’ last remaining border crossing with Turkey.
Tal Abyad is an oil-rich city located 65 kilometres east of Kobane and also a key city between Turkey and northern Syrian province of Raqqa, ISIS’ stronghold.
The PYD is the Syrian affiliate of the outlawed PKK which is a recognised as a terrorist organisation by the EU, NATO, as well as Turkey.
Regime forces managed to push back ISIS earlier this month after they began to advance with lightning speed just south of Hasakah.
ISIS currently holds control over large swaths of territory, stretching eastward from the outskirts of Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, to western Iraq.