International

Islamic State attacks YPG-held town at Turkish border

BEIRUT/DIYARBAKIR, TURKEY: Islamic State fighters attacked the town of Tel Abyad controlled by the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia at the Turkish border as well as the nearby town of Suluk on Saturday, YPG spokesman Redur Xelil and Turkish security sources told Reuters.

The YPG and Syrian Kurdish internal security forces were able to “crush this attack and encircle the attackers,” Xelil said. “The attackers were eliminated,” he added. He gave no casualty toll.

The YPG captured Tel Abyad from IS last year in an offensive backed by U.S.-led air strikes.

The Turkish security sources said the attack was launched in the early hours of Saturday on two fronts and that the sound of gunfire and explosions, audible from the town of Akcakale on the Turkish side, had continued for several hours.

The security sources and a witness in Akcakale said war planes thought to be from the U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State struck the jihadist positions and that the Turkish army had increased patrols on its side of the border.

Xelil said some of the attackers on Saturday infiltrated from the Turkish border to the north, reiterating accusations that Turkey was supporting the group. Turkey has consistently denied those accusations and the security sources said recent measures to stop illegal crossings meant it was impossible that the attackers had entered from Turkey.

Other attackers infiltrated from the south, Xelil said. He said dozens of Islamic State fighters had been killed.

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