Kurdish forces backed by U.S.-led airstrikes drove Islamic State jihadists out of the strategic Syrian town of Kobani along the Turkish border, after months of fighting.
Various media outlets and the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed that the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) had retaken the town from Islamic State (IS, ISIS, or ISIL) jihadists after 112 days of violent clashes.
The Pentagon said the battle for Kobani is not yet over, but added that the Kurds do have an advantage over ISIS in the region.
“I am not prepared to say the battle there is won. The battle continues. But as of now, friendly forces … I believe, have the momentum,” said Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman.
On Monday, Kurdish soldiers raised their flag on a hill overlooking Kobani, replacing ISIS’ black banner.
Conquering Kobani would have given ISIS control of a strategically important border crossing with Turkey, facilitating the entrance of foreign fighters and supplies to the jihadist group’s Syrian flanks.
The border town became a focal point of the U.S.-led air campaign against ISIS targets in Syria, which began September 23.
According to the Associated Press, Kobani was “the target of about a half-dozen airstrikes on average each day, and often more. More than 80 percent of all coalition airstrikes in Syria have been in or around the town.”
On Monday, the U.S. Central Command announced that it launched 17 airstrikes over the last 24 hours near Kobani, striking ISIS infrastructure, supplies, and fighting positions.
The town of Kobani is still facing danger, according to the Syrian observatory.
“YPG fighters are still combing some houses in the eastern suburbs of the city, dismantling and detonating IEDs [Improvised Explosive Devices],” reported the U.K.-based monitor group.
More than 1,300 fighters were killed in clashes between Kurdish forces and ISIS, including 979 jihadists and 324 Kurds.