US says Syria’s Kobane not fully liberated from IS
WASHINGTON - Kurdish forces have pushed back the Islamic State group and now control 90 percent of the key Syrian town of Kobane, US Central Command said Monday, confirming claims by the Kurdish militia.
The extremist IS group, which has overrun large areas of Syria and Iraq, had poured men and weapons into an offensive to secure Kobane, which is near the Turkish border.
"US Central Command confirms that anti-ISIL forces now control approximately 90 percent" of Kobane, a statement said.
The American military, which has backed up the Kurds with a steady stream of air strikes, had been cautious in its earlier assessments, even after Kurdish militia claimed victory in the months-long battle.
But Central Command, which oversees US forces in the Middle East and the air war against the IS group, said it "congratulates" the Kurdish fighters who "have fought aggressively with resilience and fortitude."
"While the fight against ISIL (IS) is far from over, ISIL's failure in Kobane has denied them one of their strategic objectives," it said.
US and coalition aircraft have carried out 705 bombing raids around Kobane since September 23, defense officials said.