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Kurdish militias force Islamic State militants out of center of Kobane

January 06, 2015, 13:13 UTC+3 BEIRUT

The gangs of mercenaries currently control less than 20% of the Kobane territory, a representative of the Kurdish forces said

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BEIRUT, January 6. /TASS/. Kurdish self-defense fighters have forced the Islamic State (IS) militants on Monday out of their positions in the center of Kobane in northern Syria. The self-defense forces said in a communique that the Kurdish militias have completely cleared of mujahedeen the city’s administrative district that had been occupied by them more than three months ago, the Firat news agency reported. “The gangs of mercenaries currently control less than 20% of the Kobane territory,” said a representative of the Kurdish forces.

Militias have also driven the IS militants out of the strategic Mistanour Hill. During the operation, 19 terrorists were killed. Stockpiles of weapons and ammunition have been found at their bases.

The US Central Command said there had been eight air strikes on Kobane on Sunday that destroyed 11 IS fighting positions. The IS advance into Kobane has sent thousands of refugees fleeing across the nearby Turkish border. Hundreds of people are believed to have been killed in the battle for the town. IS militants control large swathes of both Syria and neighbouring Iraq.

According to Kurdish sources, the enemy is most fiercely resisting the militias in the city’s east in the Kaniya Kurda area. The Kobane siege continues for the 112th day. The militia fighters have been successfully battling mujahedeen in the north and south-east of the city near the Turkish border.

The situation in the north-eastern Syria in the Hasika province where IS groups have penetrated from neighbouring Iraq continues to aggravate. According to local reports, the Kurdish fighters pressed by the superior enemy forces have had to leave three settlements there.

Army units stationed south of the city of Qamishli have managed to rebuff militants’ attempts to seize the Ghazal and Ahmadi Hills. Syrian troops have prevented explosions of five car bombs near their checkpoints. A large number of Arab mercenaries have been killed during the clashes, said an officer involved in the operation.

The Islamic State gangs have reappeared in the area of Palmyra and attacked Syrian army positions near the Al-Shaer gas field. In the central province of Hama (220 km from Damascus) the radicals tried to block the highway running through Al-Salamiyah to the north of the country that is used as the troops’ supply route.

In the satellite town of Duma, 12 km from the capital there were clashes involving two warring groups — Jaysh al-Islam, led by Zahran Alloush — a prominent figure in the armed opposition and the leader of the Islamic Front, and Jaish al Ummah associated with the extremist group Jabhat al-Nusra. The Al-Watan newspaper reported that Alloush within several hours defeated his enemies, arresting their warlords. As many as 1,500 people surrendered to him. According to experts, the in-fighting on the outskirts of Damascus is weakening the camp of the armed groups opposing the Syrian army.

Al Nusra groups in Khan el-Sheikh to the south-west of the Syrian capital have made another attempt to block the Damascus-Quneitra highway, but were rebuffed. According to Al-Watan, the extremists have lost 34 people, but failed to seize any of the roadblocks. Nevertheless, the threat to the Syrian capital still persists in this sector, given that militants groups control most of the settlements of the Quneitra province.

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