Syrian Kurds, jihadists clash on Syria-Iraq border
Intense clashes between Kurdish fighters and jihadists broke out near Syria's Iraqi border overnight, activists reported Thursday.
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, "the clashes began around midnight (21:00 GMT Wednesday) and lasted around 12 hours, with the Kurds advancing in the direction of Al-Yaarubia, an area controlled by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and other jihadist groups".
The Britain-based group added: "The Kurds have managed to take two villages controlled by the jihadists but it will be difficult to capture Al-Yaarubia from ISIL," according to an Agence France Presse report.
Syria's Al Yaarubia border crossing with Iraq has served as a crucial supply route for arms and fighters entering and exiting Syria. ISIL has carried out fatal attacks on both sides of the border, AFP reported.
The Al Qaeda-affiliated jihadists and the Kurds have been battling it out for control of Syria's northeast, an area rich in oil and wheat, for many months, according to AFP.
The Syrian rebels, who initally grouped themselves together due to their ostensible shared goal of ousting President Bashar Assad, have increasingly turned their guns on each other in recent months of the conflict, clashing with the mainstream Free Syrian Army in the north of Syria, where rebels control the majority of territory.