16 ISIS Killed in Fighting With Syrian Kurds North of Raqqa

Fierce Fighting Over Town of Ayn Issa

At least 16 ISIS fighters were killed and 19 wounded over the weekend as forces from the Kurdish YPG, backing by allies in the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) pushed back into the contested town of Ayn Issa north of ISIS capital Raqqa.

The YPG has long presented Ayn Issa as the key to eventually chasing ISIS out of Raqqa, and have held the town for months on end. Last week, ISIS sent some forces against the town, and killed at least 21 Kurds, which sparked this weekend’s counter-counter-offensive.

They have on-again, off-again fights over the town, and many of the Arab residents of Ayn Issa fled into Raqqa fearing mistreatment from the Kurdish forces. Along the road from Raqqa to Turkey, the Turkish government has objected to the Kurdish presence there.

Though holding the town never led to a direct attack on Raqqa, as predicted, the SDF forces have been advancing elsewhere in the area, trying to seize ISIS territory along the Euphrates River.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.