More than dozen IS militants killed near 'caliphate capital'

More than dozen IS militants killed near 'caliphate capital'
2 min read
03 January, 2016
Arab and Kurdish fighters clashed with IS militants near Raqqa on Saturday killing more than a dozen of them, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Syrian Democratic Forces recaptured an area seized by IS [Getty]
Arab and Kurdish forces have killed at least 16 fighters from the Islamic State group during fierce clashes north of the militant group's self-declared capital Raqqa, a monitor said on Sunday.

IS militants launched an offensive last Wednesday against areas held by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) coalition near to Ain Issa, a town held by the SDF some 50 kilometres (30 miles) from Raqqa, killing 21 Kurdish fighters.

Late on Saturday, 16 IS militants were killed and 19 wounded in clashes with the SDF near Ain Issa, said Rami Abdel Rahman of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The SDF also recaptured an area seized by IS a few days earlier, he said.

The alliance, made up of units from the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) and Arab fighters, has carried out several major operations against IS.

On December 26, it seized the Tishreen Dam from IS along with several villages on the Euphrates' eastern bank.

The dam, which was held by IS since 2014, helps generate electricity for large parts of the northern Aleppo province, the Observatory said.

It was the alliance's second major operation, after clearing IS from some 200 villages in the northeastern province of Hasakeh.

On the Euphrates' western bank, IS still controls swathes of territory stretching from Raqqa to Jarablus, on the border with Turkey.

More than 260,000 people have been killed in Syria since March 2011.

Syria's conflict began with peaceful anti-government protests but descended into a brutal civil war after a regime crackdown on dessent.