Islamic State terrorist attacks Syrian Kurdish settlements amid proclaimed ceasefire.
Smoke rises over the northern Syrian town of Tel Abyad as it is pictured from the Turkish border town of Akcakale, in Sanliurfa province, Turkey February 27, 2016. © Kadir Celikcan / Reuters.
The Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) terror group has attacked two Kurdish towns in Syria near the Turkish border. The incident occurred after a ceasefire was proclaimed in the country, which does not, however, include the IS jihadists.
The IS terrorists attacked the towns of Tel Abyad and Suluk, which are controlled by the People’s Protection Units (YPG), early on Saturday, YPG spokesman, Redur Xelil, as well as Turkish security sources told Reuters.
The YPG and Kurdish internal security forces managed to “crush this attack and encircle the attackers,” according to Xelil.
“The attackers were eliminated,” he told Reuters, without giving any details on the death toll.
Xelil also told Reuters that some of the IS fighters had come to the area from Turkey, claiming that the Turkish government supports the jihadist group. Ankara has regularly denied such accusations, saying that it is impossible for extremists to cross from Turkey into Syria since measures to seal off the border were recently taken by the Turkish authorities.
Meanwhile, Turkish security sources confirmed that the jihadists had attacked on two fronts, saying that gunfire and explosions had been heard in the Turkish border town of Akcakale for several hours, Reuters reports. The source added that a war plane, allegedly from the US-led coalition, had hit the IS positions.
The US-led coalition reported that it had carried out 10 air strikes on Saturday to stop the IS assault, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported, as cited by Reuters. The source says that at least 45 IS militants, as well as 20 Kurdish fighters, were killed in the clashes.
The attack left a Russian team from the REN TV TV-Channel trapped in the neighboring Kurdish city of Kobani.
“We have been working in the Kurdish city of Kobani for several days and were going to leave it for Iraqi Kurdistan. Suddenly a massive attack of the IS militants on the neighboring town of Tel Abyad erupted today in the morning,” one of the journalists wrote on his Facebook page, RIA Novosti reports.
“Now there is fighting in 15 spots in Tel Abyad. The city is on fire. The road from Kobani to the east, which we were going to use, is now too dangerous – we are locked in Kobani,” the journalist added.
The US and Russian backed Syrian ceasefire came into effect on Saturday at midnight Damascus time. The truce, however, does not apply to groups designated by the UN as terror organizations, such as Islamic State and Al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front.