Kurds Defeat ISIS in Four-Months-Long Battle for Kobane; Over 1,300 Fighters Dead

Kurdish refugees from Kobani watch as thick smoke covers the Syrian town of Kobani during fighting between Islamic State and Kurdish Peshmerga forces, as seen from the Mursitpinar crossing on the Turkish-Syrian border in Sanliurfa province October 26, 2014. |

Terror group ISIS has reportedly been defeated and driven out from the Syrian border town of Kobane following a near four-months-long battle, a monitoring group has said. Kurdish forces backed by other rebel groups have not allowed the city to the fall, with the offenses causing the deaths of at least 1,313 fighters, mostly from ISIS.

"IS organization raised its first banner at the outskirts of ayn al-Arab 'Kobane' in Oct. 6, 2014," the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported on Monday.

"The shelling and clashes between YPG, backed by rebel battalions and other fighters from several brigades, and IS militants resulted in death of 1,313 fighters; 979 fighters from IS organization, including 38 fighters blew themselves up using booby-trapped vehicles and explosive belts, 324 fighters from YPG and 12 fighters from the rebel battalions."

The Kurdistan presidency confirmed the news in a message, and said: "Today we received the news of liberation of defiant Kobane. I congratulate all people of Kurdistan. … This is the victory of humanity over the barbaric terrorists. … It is an honor for people of Kurdistan to face the most evil terrorist organization … and defeat it."

SOHR added that ISIS attacks killed at least 12 civilians, while large parts of the city have been left uninhabitable due to the heavy fighting.

Hundreds of ISIS fighters were killed as a result of the airstrikes by the U.S. and its allies, part of a larger operation aimed at halting the advance of the terror group in both Iraq and Syria.

While the jihadists have successfully captured several other cities, Kobane was seen as strategically important for its position right on the border with Turkey. SOHR has previously noted that ISIS leaders are already looking for victories in the Syrian province of Deir Ezzor in order to cover the loss of Kobane.

U.S. Central Command added that while the battle against ISIS in the region is far from over, the victory in Kobane is a notable one.

"While the fight against ISIL is far from over, ISIL's failure in Kobane has denied them one of their strategic objectives," the message read.

BBC News noted that the YPG Kurdish fighters appeared in photographs on social media raising the YPG flag in Kobane, with male and female soldiers shaking hands.

BBC Analyst Paul Woods said that if the reports are true, than the American-led airstrikes played a key part in ISIS' downfall in the four-months-long battle. He added that the terror group's grip over Syria has not yet been loosened, however.

"This setback for IS does not necessarily mean they are losing overall. Syrian opposition sources say IS actually have more territory under their control now than when the United States and its allies started bombing, last August," Woods said.

"In Iraq, the authorities say Islamic State have been pushed out of the eastern province of Diyala, but the jihadis have made gains to control most of the western province of Anbar. The battle against IS is ultimately a battle for Sunni Muslim public opinion — and Sunnis have been angered by the civilians casualties in their areas caused by US airstrikes."

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