At least 49 killed in Syria Kurdish-jihadist battle

A fierce battle between Syrian Kurds and jihadists from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group has killed nearly 50 fighters from both sides as the Kurds seized several ISIS positions, Agence France-Presse reported a monitoring group as saying 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, The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, adding that dozens of fighters were wounded.

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.

YPG reclaiming hills

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.

Sunni tribe fighting ISIS

The Observatory also reported fighting in eastern Syria between a Sunni tribe and ISIS, with members of the tribe tweeting about an “uprising.”

The Shaitat tribe in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor — 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 killed

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

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

Syrian rebels and activists say ISIS’ 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 al-Assad but morphed into a complex war after the regime unleashed a brutal crackdown on dissent.

Staff writer, Al Arabiya News

(With AFP)

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