After four months of continuous fighting, Kurdish forces declared today victory in the battle for the Syrian city of Kobani. “Kobani is now “100% cleared” of Islamic State fighters, said Idres Nassan, Kobani’s deputy foreign minister. Kurdish forces want to continue the momentum, pushing Islamic State militants further out of nearly 400 villages surrounding the city, Nassan said. Later today YPG Syrian Kurdish fighters have already retaken three villages in the eastern side of the city. AP reports.
The Kurdish fighters had fought against Islamic State since mid-September, backed by airstrikes from a U.S.-led coalition and a group of 150 Kurdish Peshmerga fighters from Iraqi Kurdistan, who arrived with heavy weapons in late October. Militias with the Free Syrian Army also took part in the long battle for the city. “The Peshmerga will stay as long as the YPG will need them however much time it takes to clear the villages,” said Peshmerga Brig. Halgord Hekmat.
Despite the Kurdish cheer, senior US State Department official told Reuters the setback for Islamic State in Kobani did not mean “anyone is declaring mission accomplished or this is a significant turning point.” Reuters reported. The official said the majority of militants fighting in Kobani were made up of some of Islamic State’s best foreign fighters from Chechnya, Canada, Australia and Belgium. It became obvious in November they were struggling to hold the town as Iraqi Kurdish pershmerga fighters advanced on the ground, backed by U.S. air strikes, the official added.