The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said that ISIS had “pulled back from Suluk town north of al-Raqqa countryside after it was besieged for 48 hours by [Kurdish People's Protection Units] YPG.”
SOHR said also that the YPG controls wide areas of Tal Tamir, another key town on the same front line in Syria's Hasakeh province, in which fierce confrontations took place on Wednesday.
ISIS is said to be planing to seize the town of Tal Tamir in the Hasaka province, as well as Ras al Ayn, located just 5 kilometres away from Tal Abyad. This would give them control over key routes that link to their bastion city of Mosul in Iraq.
According to SOHR, coalition air raids supported the YPG militia as they advanced in the area. The clashes between ISIS and the YPG in Suluk and other countryside areas near Tal Abyad also continued, accompanied with a heavy aerial bombardment by coalition warplanes forcing residents to head towards the city of Raqqa.
Coalition warplanes, led by the United States, hit a settlement unit in Tal Abyad in the northern Raqqa province, killing 20 civilians, said the Syrian Revolution General Commission (SRGC) in a statement on Saturday.
Tal Abyad, held by ISIS, is an oil-rich city located 65 kilometres east of Kobane - a key border town between Turkey and ISIS' de facto capital in Syria's Raqqa province.
The main Kurdish ‘’People's Protection Units’’ (YPG) group, has been fighting against ISIS for the city since the Kurds launched an offensive earlier this month, advancing to within five kilometers of Tal Abyad on Saturday.
Rami Abdel Rahman, SOHR’s head, said ‘’Kurdish forces are on the eastern outskirts of Tal Abyad, only five kilometres (three miles) from the town.’’
The YPG is the military wing of PYD. The PYD is seen as the Syrian affiliate of the outlawed PKK. Both separatist groups aspire to create an independent nation out of parts of Syria, Iraq, Turkey and Iran. The PKK is recognised as a terrorist organisation by the US, EU and Turkey, whereas the PYD has managed to remain off global terror lists.
According to UN estimates, over 220,000 people have been killed in Syria since the start of the war that started as an uprising and later descended into a complex civil war. More than 6.7 million people have fled the country while millions of others are displaced internally.