Syrian Kurdish Forces Capture Key ISIL-Held Town
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Syrian Kurdish fighters said they have taken the strategic town of Tal Abyad, a major supply route to Raqqa province, a stronghold of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group.
"It's now under complete control," Redur Xelil, a spokesperson for the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), said on Monday after a day of rapid advances in an offensive aided by US-led air strikes.
However, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said there were still "some small pockets of resistance" from small groups of ISIL fighters holed up inside the town.
The Kurdish advance has caused the displacement of more than 16,000 people, who have fled to Turkey in the past two weeks.
"We were terrorised by ISIL," a refugee told Al Jazeera. "We left because of the heavy bombardment from all sides. I'll never go back - in there you die a hundred times a day."
Turkish authorities agreed to open the border crossing due to increased dangers amid the battle for Tal Abyad. But the large numbers of displaced people have led to long waits, with many having to wait for at least 24 hours to cross the border.
Kurdish fighters and Syrian rebels began their main advance on the town on June 11, backed by air strikes from the US-led coalition. Elsewhere in Syria on Monday, at least 34 people were killed and 190 wounded in opposition rocket fire on government-held parts of Aleppo city, according to state media.