ISIS Retakes Key North Syrian Town From Kurdish Forces

Town Fell in Kurdish Offensive Two Weeks Ago

Adding to the territory recovered in their recent counteroffensive against the Kurdish YPG forces, ISIS has announced that they have “liberated” the town of Ayn Issa away from the YPG, and brought it back under ISIS control.

Ayn Issa fell two weeks ago, when the YPG pushed into it and the neighboring military base. This offensive also saw the YPG taking Tel Abyad, which remains contested. The retaking of Ayn Issa by ISIS is likely to lead to another round of fighting over the base as well.

Those towns, in the Raqqa Province, have been an important target for the YPG, which is trying to cut off the city of Raqqa, ISIS’s de facto capital city, from the Turkish border, and also trying to shift ISIS away from the nearby border city of Kobani.

The YPG takeover in Ayn Issa led to an exodus of Sunni Arab residents deeper toward ISIS territory, and they will likely return home with ISIS back in control. Sunni Arabs in Syria and Iraq have complained of persecution by Kurdish forces.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.