Kurds oust IS from Syria’s Kobane as civil­ian toll mounts

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL - BY RITA DAOU

Kur­dish forces drove Is­lamic State group fight­ers from the flash­point Syr­ian bor­der town of Kobane on Satur­day, af­ter a killing spree by the ji­hadists left more than 200 civil­ians dead.

Fight­ers of the Kur­dish Peo­ple’s Pro­tec­tion Units (YPG) stormed IS’ last re­main­ing po­si­tion, tak­ing full con­trol of Kobane, a pow­er­ful sym­bol of Kur­dish re­sis­tance.

As they combed the streets look­ing for fugi­tive ji­hadists, the Kur­dish fight­ers found more bod­ies, tak­ing the civil­ian death toll to 206, the Syr­ian Ob­ser­va­tory for Hu­man Rights said.

Lo­cal jour­nal­ist Rudi Mo­ham­mad Amin told AFP that more civil­ians were still un­ac­counted for.

The ji­hadists made their last stand in a boys’ high school build­ing.

“The YPG det­o­nated ex­plo­sives out­side of the school, then stormed it,” Amin said, speak­ing via the In­ter­net from a po­si­tion near Kobane, on the bor­der with Tur­key.

“This mil­i­tary op­er­a­tion was car­ried out af­ter en­sur­ing that there were no civil­ians left in the school.”

Amin said he be­lieved all the IS fight­ers in­side were killed.

‘They just came to kill the high­est

num­ber’

Some of the civil­ians were felled in the streets by rocket or sniper fire, oth­ers were ex­e­cuted in their homes.

Ob­ser­va­tory di­rec­tor Rami Ab­del Rah­man said the bod­ies found on Satur­day bore bullet marks and ap­peared to in­clude en­tire fam­i­lies.

“The bod­ies were found lit­tered in homes and in the streets, lay­ing here and there,” he said.

The IS op­er­a­tion was widely seen as vengeance for a se­ries of defeats at the hands of Kur­dish mili­tia, par­tic­u­larly the ji­hadists’ loss of Tal Abyad, another bor­der town fur­ther east, on June 16.

“IS doesn’t want to take over the town. They just came to kill the high­est num­ber of civil­ians in the ugli­est ways pos­si­ble,” lo­cal jour­nal­ist Mostafa Ali told AFP on Fri­day.

A to­tal of 16 Kur­dish fight­ers and 54 ji­hadists were also killed.

The Ob­ser­va­tory chief said that IS had achieved its ob­jec­tive.

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