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Syrian forces, Kurds push Islamic State out of Hasaka city: monitor
July 28, 2015 / 1:36 PM / 2 years ago

Syrian forces, Kurds push Islamic State out of Hasaka city: monitor

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BEIRUT (Reuters) - Syrian government forces and a Kurdish militia have driven Islamic State fighters out of Hasaka city in Syria's far northeast, a month after the hardline group attacked it, a group monitoring the four-year-old war said on Tuesday.

Hasaka is the capital of a strategically important province that borders territory held by Islamic State in Iraq.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said clashes were continuing in the city's southern outskirts but that Hasaka itself was now free from Islamic State fighters.

Islamic State launched a major attack on the city on June 25, focusing initially on government-held south of Hasaka. The ensuing battle drew in the Kurdish YPG, which held north Hasaka, resulting in the U.S.-backed Kurds fighting Islamic State in close proximity to government forces shunned by Washington.

The Kurdish YPG militia has repeatedly said it does not coordinate with Syrian government forces against their shared enemy, Islamic State.

The Observatory said scores of Islamic State fighters, government troops and allied pro-government militia had been killed since the beginning of the June offensive.

Last week the a YPG spokesman said the militia was in near full control of the city, a statement at odds with Syrian state media reports of a strong performance by the military.

The government has been focusing on trying to shore up its control over big population centers in western Syria, including the capital Damascus, but Hasaka is one of several areas where it has also sought to preserve control in recent fighting.

Reporting by Sylvia Westall; Editing by Louise Ireland

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