Rudaw reports: In a potential turning point in the fightback against the Islamic State, Kurdish forces on Tuesday said they had retaken the strategic Iraqi town of Rabia that straddles a main road near the border with Syria.
Rabia has provided a road link for the jihadists between their strongholds in Syria and Iraq, including the country’s second largest city of Mosul which IS captured in June.
The loss of Rabia would be the most significant setback for ISIS forces in northern Iraq since the launch of U.S. and allied air strike earlier this month.
A Peshmerga commander, Shiekh Ahmad Mohammad, told Rudaw: “Rabia is under the control of Kurdish forces. We are leaving their bodies behind and picking up their abandoned weapons.”
The YPG, the protection force of the Kurdish-held zone in neighbouring Syria, said the capture of Rabia was a joint operation between them and the Peshmerga of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) but this was not immediately confirmed by the Peshmerga side.
The YPG has been harassing ISIS forces in the area, while further west, in Rojava, its units have been resisting the advance of ISIS forces against the Syrian-Turkish border town of Kobane.
Selahattin Demirtas, a leader of Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) crossed the border into Kobane on Tuesday in a visit of solidarity. He later called on the Turkish government to support the fight of Syrian Kurds against ISIS. He said this was an opportunity to strengthen Turkey’s peace process with its own Kurdish population. [Continue reading…]