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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Kobani Almost Cleared of Islamic State Militants: Free Syrian Army

Sputnik News

18:30 27.11.2014(updated 19:58 27.11.2014)

Commander of the last Free Syria Army (FSA) brigade stated that Syrian town of Kobani is now almost free from Islamic State (IS) militants.

MOSCOW, November 27 (Sputnik) —The Syrian town of Kobani is now almost free from Islamic State (IS) militants and the city defenders have now shifted to offense, the commander of the last Free Syria Army (FSA) brigade left in the town, told Sputnik radio Thursday.

'The Islamists have already lost 80% of their fighters and equipment,' the Shams al-Shamal (Northern Sun) brigade commander known for his call-sign Abu Layla said.

'We have been defending Kobani for more than 70 days now, and in the last 18 days the fighting there was non-stop. The eastern parts of the town, the vegetable market district, the industrial zone and the district of Hajj Rashad mosque are now free from terrorists,' Abu Layla, who is of Kurdish origin, added.

Abu Layla also stated that it has been a long time since the FSA brigades under the command of Abdul Jabbar Oqaidi left the town taking all their military equipment with them.

'My brigade, the Shams al-Shamal, is under the command of the Free Syrian Army, but the Syrian opposition – including the Syrian National Council and the [National] Coalition for [Syrian] Revolution [and Opposition] Forces – have not provided us with any help yet. We haven't yet received any funding or the weapons that were promised [to us],' said the brigade commander.

Abu Layla added that the air support of the US-led anti-IS coalition offers some assistance to the fighters on the ground, but it is the Kobani defenders themselves who are truly decide the outcome of the confrontation.

Islamic State, a radical Sunni jihadi group, has been fighting against the Syrian government since 2012. In June 2014, the extremists extended its attacks to northern and western Iraq. The group has declared a caliphate on the territories it has seized.

Since September 2014, IS militants have besieged Kobani, one of the largest towns in the Kurdish region bordering Turkey. Kurdish self-defense forces have been defending the town with the help of the US-led international coalition, that is currently conducting airstrikes against IS targets in Syria and Iraq. Late in October it was reported that the Free Syrian Army rebels were arriving in Kobani to join the defense forces in fighting the Islamic State militants.


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