In a picture taken from Alcakale, Turkey, a flag of the Islamic State flutters amongst buildings in the center of the Syrian city Tal Abyad on June 13, 2015. AFP PHOTO / BULENT KILIC
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The Syrian Kurdish YPG militia said it began an advance towards an ISIS-held town at the Turkish border on Saturday, thrusting deeper into the jihadis' stronghold of Raqqa province with the backing of U.S.-led airstrikes.The advance raises the prospect of a big battle at the Turkish border between the well-organized YPG militia and ISIS Tel Abyad is important to ISIS as the nearest border town to its de facto capital of Raqqa city.Turkey says thousands of people have already fled across its border to escape fighting between the YPG and ISIS near Tel Abyad. With the help of U.S.-led airstrikes, the YPG fended off an ISIS attack on the border town of Kobani, or Ayn al-Arab, in January. Since then, the YPG has emerged as the most significant partner on the ground in Syria for the U.S.-led alliance that is trying to roll back ISIS. For the YPG, dislodging ISIS from Tel Abyad would help them to link up Kurdish-controlled areas of Syria in Hassakeh province and Kobani.
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