World Bulletin/News Desk
A Kurdish group captured a town in Syria from rebels on Saturday in a battle in which at least 28 fighters were killed, a monitoring group reported.
Syrian Kurds have expanded their sway in the northeast, where they are setting up their own administration, since the revolt against President Bashar al-Assad began three years ago.
The Kurdish fighters were in possession of the bodies of 16 of "armed mercenaries" and had taken 42 prisoners, the statement said. It said three Kurdish fighters had also been killed.
The Syrian Observatory, an opposition-affiliated watchdog, said at least 25 had been killed.
Redur Xelil, spokesman for the People's Protection Units, said: "The operation was over at 5 a.m. and the armed groups and mercenaries that were there were expelled."
"The town is completely controlled by the People's Protection Units," he told Reuters by telephone, adding that nearby villages were also under the group's control.
BLOODY BATTLE AROUND NEW YEAR
Long oppressed by Damascus, the Kurds have been largely left to their own devices by Syrian government forces fighting rebels elsewhere. That has drawn accusations that they have made a de facto alliance with Assad - a charge the Kurds deny.
The People's Protection Units fought fierce battles with the Islamists in the Tal Brak area around the turn of the year, when the Observatory said 60 fighters - 39 from the People's Protection Units and 21 Islamists - were killed.
On Twitter, one activist said the battle was not over. "The clashes are continuing ... in Tal Brak. The (Kurdish) militia has not seized complete control," wrote the activist, who describes himself as a media activist from the area.
The Observatory reported battles in areas outside the town.
Kurds in Syria, who number around 2 million, declared their provincial government in the northeast on Jan. 21.
While local leaders say they have no plans for secession, their push for autonomy has unnerved neighbouring Turkey, which faces similar demands from its own Kurdish population.Last Mod: 22 Şubat 2014, 17:47