Syrian Kurds say thwart big Islamic State attack on border town

Syrian Kurds say thwart big Islamic State attack on border town

Rodi Said

Backed by U.S.-led air strikes, the Kurdish YPG militia and smaller Syrian rebel groups captured Tel Abyad from Islamic State on June 15, severing an important supply route for the militants between the Turkish border and its de facto capital of Raqqa city to the south.

The YPG militia said the militants entered Tel Abyad's eastern periphery on Tuesday. Redur Xelil, the spokesman, said three Islamic State militants had been killed, while another had blown himself up with an explosive belt.

"The situation in Tel Abyad is over and under control," he told Reuters. "They were preparing a big operation like Kobani."

Islamic State went back on the offensive in Syria last week, raiding Kurdish-controlled Kobani - also known as Ayn al-Arab - while simultaneously launching an attack on government-held areas of the northeastern city of Hasaka.

The militants' raid on Kobani last week killed more than 220 civilians. The YPG said it reestablished full control over Kobani on Saturday, killing more than 60 Islamic State militants who had raided the town.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed the YPG had reestablished control over the Tel Abyad district raided on Tuesday. But with such a low death toll among Islamic State fighters, it questioned where the remaining militants had gone.

The Syrian military has also been able to regain areas of the northeastern city of Hasaka lost to Islamic State in its attack last week.

(Writing by Tom Perry; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

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