BEIRUT

Middle East

Syria Kurdish-jihadist battle kills 49

An image made available by Jihadist media outlet Welayat Raqa on July 25, 2014, shows allegedly shows members of the IS (Islamic state) militant group raising their black and white flag over a building belonging to a Syrian army base in the northern rebel-held Syrian city of Raqa. Islamic State fighters have seized Division 17 army base in the northern province of Raqa, killing and beheading scores of troops, a monitoring group said. AFP PHOTO / HO / WELAYAT RAQA === RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE

BEIRUT: A fierce battle between Syrian Kurds and Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) jihadists has killed nearly 50 fighters from both sides as the Kurds seized several ISIS positions, an activist group said Thursday.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also reported fighting in eastern Syria between a Sunni tribe and ISIS, with members of the tribe tweeting about an "uprising."

Wednesday's fighting in Ain al-Arab (Kobane in Kurdish) killed 14 members of the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) and 35 jihadists.

Dozens of fighters were wounded, said the Observatory.

The Britain-based monitor said it was now "calm" after the fighting in the Ain al-Arab area in the restive northern province of Aleppo on the border with Turkey.

In the battle, Kurdish fighters took several hills which ISIS jihadists had seized and set up positions.

Earlier in July, hundreds of Kurdish fighters had crossed the Turkey-Syria border into Ain al-Arab, to join the anti-ISIS fight.

On a separate front, the Shaitat tribe in the eastern province of Deir al-Zor - most of which is under jihadist control - also fought back against the ISIS, the Observatory said.

The fighting erupted after the ISIS detained three members of the tribe, "violating an agreement" between the two sides, it said.

According to the Observatory, the Shaitat tribe had promised ISIS it would not oppose it, in exchange for the jihadists not harassing or attacking its members.

The Sunni Shaitat tribe extends across three villages - Abu Hamam, Kashkiyeh and Ghranij.

Shaitat members posted on Twitter: "Shaitat rises up against the Islamic State."

Five jihadists, including a Belgian, were killed in the fighting, said the Observatory.

ISIS expelled rivals from oil-rich Deir al-Zor earlier in July, emboldened by its lightning offensive in neighboring Iraq a month earlier.

Syrian rebels and activists say IS' military capability was boosted by its capture of heavy weapons from Iraqi troops fleeing the onslaught.

ISIS has been fighting poorly equipped Syrian rebels since January.

Syria's war has killed more than 170,000 people in three years. It began as a peaceful uprising against President Bashar Assad but morphed into a complex war after the regime unleashed a brutal crackdown on dissent.

 

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Summary

A fierce battle between Syrian Kurds and Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) jihadists has killed nearly 50 fighters from both sides as the Kurds seized several ISIS positions, an activist group said Thursday.

Wednesday's fighting in Ain al-Arab (Kobane in Kurdish) killed 14 members of the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) and 35 jihadists.

Earlier in July, hundreds of Kurdish fighters had crossed the Turkey-Syria border into Ain al-Arab, to join the anti-ISIS fight.

Five jihadists, including a Belgian, were killed in the fighting, said the Observatory.

ISIS has been fighting poorly equipped Syrian rebels since January.


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