Syrian Kurds claim to have captured Islamist commander
A Syrian rebel tries on a gas mask seized from a Syrian army factory in the northwestern province of Idlib (AFP/DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS
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A commander of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) was reportedly captured late Saturday by Syrian Kurdish fighters.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that the jihadist commander was captured as battles raged.
“Battles pitting fighters from the Kurdish Fighters brigade against ISIS and other groups are raging on in several areas of Tal Abyad in Raqa province, after (Kurdish) fighters captured ISIS’ emir in the town,” said the monitoring group.
Tal Abyad lies on the Syrian border with Turkey,
Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP news agency the commander’s nom-de-guerre is Abu Musab, though it was unclear whether he is Syrian or foreign.
The news comes just days after fighters loyal to the Committees for the Protection of the Kurdish People (YPG) expelled Al-Nusra Front and ISIS from the strategic Kurdish town of Ras al-Ain in Hasake province, AFP reported.
At least 50 jihadist and Kurdish fighters were killed in fighting in northern Syria this week alone, according to a toll released earlier Saturday by the Observatory.
Kurds represent about 15 percent of the Syrian population.
The clashes in Tal Abyad broke out after jihadists ambushed a school that Kurdish fighters in the town were using as a base, said the Britain-based Observatory.