Thursday, June 18, 2015

The Kurds Put the Squeeze on ISIS in Syria

Syrian Kurdish militia fighters carry their flags in Tal Abyad 
on Monday after recapturing the town from Islamic State. 
Photo: Reuters
Capture of northern town of Tal Abyad boosts U.S.-backed effort to choke off ISIS supply routes
A quick and successful offensive by Kurdish fighters and allied rebels in a northern Syrian town has boosted a U.S.-backed effort to choke off Islamic State’s supply routes and offered a template for regaining territory from the extremist group.
Emboldened by the recapture of Tal Abyad, the Syrian Kurdish alliance said Tuesday that its next target is Raqqa, Islamic State’s main stronghold in Syria about 50 miles south of Tal Abyad. The fighters said they had already begun advancing southward toward Raqqa on Monday, reaching the town of Ain Issa, only about 30 miles away.
Syrian refugees had fled to Turkish Border as Kurds 
clashed with ISIS.
“We will move to liberate Raqqa in the near future,” said Shervan Darweesh, a spokesman for a coalition of rebel factions led by the Syrian Kurdish militia known as YPG.
Despite those proclamations, there is no broader military planning under way by the U.S.-led coalition for an imminent Raqqa offensive, which would be a much more ambitious endeavor than recapturing Tal Abyad.
A Kurdish fighter carries an injured boy towards the 
Turkish border in Tel Abyad.
The victory in Syria coincided with other successes this week in America’s global counterterrorism campaign. A Central Intelligence Agency drone strike in Yemen killed the No. 2 al Qaeda leader in the world, officials said Tuesday, and a U.S. military strike in Libya is believed to have killed another high-level al Qaeda militant.
On Tuesday, the yellow YPG flag fluttered at half-staff in Tal Abyad, visible from the Turkish town of Akçakale across the border, in commemoration of those killed in the fight against Islamic State. It replaced the extremist group’s black flag that had marked its control over the town for more than a year.
Read the rest of the story HERE.

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