Middle East

Islamic State conflict: Kurds reclaim Ain Issa in Syria

Kurdish Peshmerga soldiers take up positions, south of Kirkuk, northern Iraq, 06 July 2015 Image copyright EPA
Image caption Ain Issa is back in Kurdish fighters' control, two days after it reportedly fell to IS

Kurdish-led fighters say they have reclaimed a town from Islamic State close to the group's northern Syrian stronghold of Raqqa.

IS fighters reportedly seized the town of Ain Issa on Monday, but a statement by the Kurdish Popular Protection Units (YPG) said they had now taken it back.

They were supported by a female brigade, the YPJ and, the AFP agency said, by US airstrikes.

The town, only 50km (30 miles) north of Raqqa, is of strategic importance.

It is at an intersection of the main roads from Raqqa to other areas IS controls in Aleppo province, to the west, and Hassakeh province, to the east.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also confirmed Ain Issa was back in Kurdish fighters' hands.

In recent weeks, IS has launched several deadly counter-attacks against the Kurds.

The jihadist group had until then suffered a series of defeats in areas along the Turkish border since being forced to withdraw from the town of Kobane in January.