Syrian Kurdish groups capture border town from ISIS

Syrian Kurdish groups claim to capture border town of Tal Abyad from ISIS with help of US-led air strikes

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Syrian Kurdish groups said on Monday they captured border town of Tal Abyad at Turkish border and its areas with the support of US-led air strikes from ISIS.

Following the US-led air strikes and escaping of the Syrian people into Turkey, the Kurdish groups took control of the town, ISIS’ stronghold and planted their flags in different places in the area.

The seizure of the town by the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), the outlawed PKK's Syrian affiliated PYD’s military wing, means they effectively control some 400 km of the Syrian-Turkish border.

Meanwhile, two ISIS militants surrendered to Turkish forces on the border.

Local sources claim the clashes are still continuing inside Tal Abyad at intervals.

The YPG spokesperson Redur Xelil told Reuters that Tal Abyad was ‘’under complete control.’’

He added that most of the ISIS militants have entered Turkey.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said most of the town was under YPG control with only a handful of ISIS militants.

The YPG now controls the border from Syria’s northeastern to east of the town of Jarabulus. That is ISIS’ last remaining border crossing with Turkey, said Xelil.

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.

More than 18,000 Syrians crossed into Turkey in the past two weeks.

"5,291 people, who entered Turkey, were registered today. 1,413 of the refugees are women while 2,287 are children," said the Turkish Prime Ministry Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD) in a written statement on Monday.

Turkish soldiers helped the people, many of whom were elderly, females and children.

A Turkish official and humanitarian employee had said US-led air strikes were partly responsible of the recent displacement of the Syrians from the border area.

However, the US Embassy in Ankara, capital of Turkey, denied the accusations to hurt civilians, saying they were only targeting the militants.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the Kurdish forces were seizing areas from which Arabs and Turkmen were being displaced.

He accused the West of supporting Kurdish ‘’terrorists,’’ saying the outcome could eventually threaten Turkey’s border.

The Democratic Union Party, or the PYD, which is considered the Syrian affiliate of the outlawed PKK, which is listed by Turkey as well as NATO and the US as a terrorist organisation.

The PYD is the only Syrian Kurdish Party that is not under the umbrella of the Kurdish National Coalition, or Kurdnas, formed through the efforts of Kurdish Regional Government President Massoud Barzani.

Turkey hosts an estimated 1.8 million Syrian refugees, including around 200,000 from Kobane, more than any of Syria’s other neighbours and one of the biggest refugee populations in a single country anywhere in the world.

According to UN estimates, more than 220,000 people have been killed in Syria since the start of the war that started as an uprise and descended later into a complex civil war. More than 6.7 million people have fled the country while millions of others are displaced internally.

TRTWorld and agencies