Kurdish forces defending the Syrian border town of Kobane have recaptured a strategic hill overlooking the city from Islamic State fighters, a senior local official told dpa Monday.wpid-Rebelstruyyan.jpg

“Our banners are now on the hill and our fighters have taken full control of the hill of Mashta Nour overlooking Kobane,” Kobane foreign relations official Idriss Nassan said.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that the development, after three months of heavy fighting, gave the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) overall military dominance in the town.

The YPG now controls the jihadists’ two main supply routes into Kobane, Observatory director Rami Abdel-Rahman told dpa.

The watchdog said the fighting overnight killed at least 11 Islamic State militants.

Kobane, the smallest of three Kurdish-controlled enclaves in northern Syria, has been under attack by the militant group since mid-September.

Aided by intensive US airstrikes, the YPG has now regained control of most of the town.

In neighbouring Iraq, meanwhile, the UN refugee agency said Islamic State had released 196 Yezidi civilians “in very bad shape” after apparently holding them for over five months.

The group, mostly aged between 50 and 80, “were noticeably traumatized, frail and with visible skin infections,” UNHCR said.

The Yezidis were escorted to a temple in the Dohuk area of Iraqi Kurdistan and received medical attention, the agency said.

Islamic State fighters are reported to have carried out mass killings of Yezidi men and enslaved women and girls after overrunning the Sinjar area, one of the main centres of the small religious minority.

The jihadists revile the Yezidis, followers of an ancient faith, as infidels.


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