At least 50 fighters of the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant (ISIL) have been killed in the past 24 hours in Syria’s Kobane, the biggest loss endured by the group since it launched its assault on the strategic border city on September 16.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Sunday that the deaths were the result of either clashes, suicide bombings or US-led air strikes.
The rights group also said 11 Kurdish fighters were killed in the same period in Kobane, along with one Syrian rebel fighter backing the Kurdish forces.
ISIL had hoped to quickly seize the small border town and secure its grip on a large stretch of the Syrian-Turkish border, but Kurdish Syrian fighters, backed by US-led air strikes and an influx of Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga forces, have held back the group. For now, the town remains roughly evenly divided between ISIL and Kurdish control.
A spokesperson of the Kurdish YPG said fighters of the Syrian Kurdish armed group had the Kobane border crossing with Turkey completely under its control.
Meanwhile in Iraq, the Peshmerga say they have taken over five key villages from ISIL fighters. These villages, located in an area known as Gweir and Makhmour, 45km to the south of Erbil, have been changing hands for months.
Iraq’s army, backed by Shia and Kurdish fighters and US-led air strikes that started in August, have made some gains against ISIL, pushing back its advance towards Kurdish territory. The army last week recaptured towns in Diyala province, on the road from Baghdad to Iran.