Syrian refugees return home for Ramadan after Kurdish victory against IS

Syrian refugees return home for Ramadan after Kurdish victory against IS
by Talia Abbas

17 June 2015 | 16:15

Source: by Annahar/AFP

  • by Talia Abbas
  • Source: Annahar/AFP
  • Last update: 17 June 2015 | 16:15

Syrian refugees in Turkey began returning to their homes in Tal Abyad on Monday after Kurdish forces recovered the border town from the Islamic State group.

Backed by Syrian rebel forces, fighters from the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) were able to regain full control of the border town on Tuesday, less than a week after beginning advances.

Some 200 men, women and children have eagerly crossed back into Syria through Turkish border, despite fear for bomb attacks, Syrian refugees told AFP.

Many of the refugees are willing to risk their lives, if it means being able to spend the holy month of Ramadan, which begins on Thursday, in their homeland.

The lossdeals a huge blow to the IS, as it cuts off a key supply line to Raqa for foreign fighters and supplies entering IS-held territory in Syria and for exports of black market oil from jihadist-held field, according to AFP.

IS will now have to rely on border crossings much further west in Aleppo, adding nearly 200 miles to their supply lines. IS still has control over other informal border routes, but none that rival Tal Abyad.

SherfanDarwish, a spokesman for the Burkan al-Furat rebel group that fought alongside the YPG, told AFP that "inside the town on Wednesday, life was beginning to return".

Darwish confirmed to AFP that military operations have finished, and said that Kurdish and rebel forces carried out sweeps of the town to remove mines and car bombs left behind by IS jihadists.

The orders come amid accusations by some Syrian rebels and Turkey that Kurdish forces are seeking "ethnically cleanse" Tal Abyad and the surrounding region.

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