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17 Oct, 2014 12:15

ISIS fighters withdraw from Syria's embattled Kobani - RT sources

Islamic State fighters have been driven out of Kobani, the Kurdish town that straddles the Syrian-Turkish border, after weeks of heavy fighting, according to Kurdish sources speaking to RT.

A Kurdish commander said that ISIS retreated overnight – withdrawing by 2 km east and 9 km west.

The Kurds are now clearing the city. The Islamists have left behind suicide bombers hiding in the ruins of the various buildings in the city.

"We can still hear sporadic gunfire and explosions coming from Kobani," RT's Murad Gazdiev reports from the Turkish-Syrian border.

However, a victory announcement from the Kurdish fighters is yet to be made because the whole of the city has not been secured.

RT source in #Kobani: #IslamicState retreated, left behind suicide bombers in ruins. Victory announcement once city cleared.

— Murad Gazdiev (@MuradoRT) October 17, 2014

Only a few days ago Kobani had been written off and was predicted to fall to IS fighters, even by the Kurds' closest allies. The Islamic State militants control almost entire border between Syria and Turkey so it was vital for them strategically to take control of the border town.

On Wednesday and Thursday alone more than 14 bombing raids were carried out in which 16 buildings in Kobani were destroyed, sources told Haaretz.

The newspaper also reported that up to 20 percent of the town may still be controlled by IS militants. The battle for the strategically-important border town has already cost the lives of nearly 600 people.

A Thursday statement from US Central Command said that the airstrikes “had continued to slow IS advances, but that the security situation on the ground in Kobani remains tenuous.” It also warned “We need more airstrikes, as well as weaponry and ammunition to fight them on the ground.”

The news from Kobani comes as the new UN Human Rights Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein, said that the IS is “a diabolical, potentially genocidal movement.”

He said that group is “the product of a perverse and lethal marriage of a new form of nihilism with the digital age.”