News and Views
Kobane’s streets of death: Executed ISIS fighters are lined up in town’s ruins as pictures reveal scale of destruction after militants’ defeat in epic battle
Kurdish fighters have killed dozens of Islamic State militants in recent days as battles continue to rage around the strategic Syrian border town of Kobane.
In one village, a Kurd was today pictured standing over the bodies of Islamic extremists after they were killed in Halimce, a village east of the town.
Around 20 jihadists also died in the hills west of Kobane days after it was recaptured following months of heavy fighting which has left the town in ruins.
Kurdish forces retook the town on January 26 in a symbolic blow to the jihadists who have seized large swathes of territory in their onslaught across Syria and Iraq.
The bodies of around 20 Islamic extremists were rounded up days after the Kurds recaptured the strategic town of Kobane following months of heavy fighting which has left the town in ruins
Syrian Observatory for Human Rights director Rami Abdel Rahman said: ‘Nineteen ISIS members were killed in fighting against the (Kurdish) People’s Protection Units (YPG) in the hills surrounding Manaz to the west of Kobane.
‘Another three jihadists died in fighting around villages to the east of Kobane, while the YPG also took one ISIS member prisoner,’ he told AFP.
The YPG had also recaptured five villages around Kobane this week, according to Mr Rahman, whose Britain-based group relies on a network of sources inside Syria.
But the Islamic State group still controls hundreds of villages in the area.
‘Another 350 villages remain under ISIS control,’ he said, referring to settlements in the area around Kobane. One civilian was also killed.
‘ISIS shelling in the western countryside of Kobane killed a civilian,’ said Mr Rahman, who has repeatedly stressed that the fight for the Kobane area is far from over.
The town, which is known in Arabic as Ain al-Arab, is characterised by demolished buildings and heavily armed fighters roaming otherwise deserted, rubble-strewn streets.
Sheets meant to hide residents from snipers’ sights still hang over streets and its shattered buildings and cratered roads suggest those who fled are unlikely to return soon.
Meanwhile, with their town liberated, thousands of residents of Kobane are settling into Turkey’s newest refugee camp for an indefinite stay.
Opened on Sunday just several kilometres from the Syrian border, the new compound near the town of Suruc is the largest refugee camp yet in Turkey.
It has begun taking in some of the estimated 200,000 people who fled Kobane after it came under ISIS attack in September.
Made up of 7,000 tents capable of housing 35,000 people, the camp has been taking in around 1,000 refugees per day, site director Mehmethan Ozdemir told AFP news agency.
But given the mass of people currently adrift in southern Turkey and northern Syria, the camp will only be able to house a portion of Kobane inhabitants.
And although ISIS fighters have apparently been defeated in the border city by Kurdish forces, authorities have warned residents against returning until the area has been fully secured.