Saturday, October 18, 2014

ISIS Militants in Syrian Border Town Begin to Retreat After a Monthlong Battle

By KAREEM FAHIM and HELENE COOPER, NYT
OCT. 17, 2014

SURUC, Turkey — The advance of Islamic State forces on the Syrian city of Kobani has stalled as the militants have been forced to retreat on several fronts, shifting the monthlong battle increasingly in favor of the Kurdish fighters defending the city, according to commanders and Kurdish and American officials.

Dozens of airstrikes this week by the American-led military coalition killed hundreds of Islamic State fighters, allowing Kurdish units to regain territory, said Gen. Lloyd J. Austin, head of the United States Central Command, who made a rare appearance before reporters at the Pentagon on Friday.

The Kurdish fighters, General Austin added, have done “yeoman’s work in terms of standing their ground.”

Over the last two days, the rapidly changing fortunes of the Kurdish fighters have produced a sense of palpable relief in Kobani, as well as in the refugee camps in neighboring Turkey that are filled with the city’s residents. The fierce clashes of previous weeks have given way to a tentative calm, broken on Friday only by the occasional crash of mortar rounds and some scattered sniper fire.

(More here.)

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