Kurdish forces take key border town from IS in Iraq

Author : Mircea Birca | Tuesday, June 16, 2015
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Kurdish forces have seized control of a key border town from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), cutting a major supply line in the biggest setback yet for the jihadists in Syria, as the Turkish government clearly voiced its unease over the perceived efforts to unify Kurdish cantons in its southern neighbor.

From across the frontier in Turkey, Kurds and allied Syrian rebels could be seen raising their banners in place of the black ISIL flag and taking up positions at the Tal Abyad border post.

Fighters with the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and Women’s Protection Units (YPJ) militia waved their yellow banner as Turkish troops looked on from the other side of the frontier.

The capture of Tal Abyad, used by ISIL as a gateway from Turkey to its de facto capital Raqqa, was “the biggest setback to ISIL since it announced its caliphate one year ago,” said Rami Abdel Rahman, the head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group.

The frontier town was a key conduit for foreign fighters and supplies into ISIL-held territory in Syria and for exports of black market oil from jihadist-held fields in eastern Syria, analysts say.

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