The battle over the town of Ayn Issa in Syria’s Raqqa Province continues to rage today, with the Kurdish YPG announcing that they have once again taken he town away from ISIS after another round of clashes. ISIS had taken it from the Kurds just days prior.
ISIS held Ayn Issa for months, and the YPG seized it from them in late June. The town itself is small and relatively unimportant, but is close to an important military base, and is along a highway connecting the ISIS capital of Raqqa to its other territory in Aleppo Province and the main Turkish border crossing.
The YPG pushed into the area taking Ayn Issa, the military base, and Tel Abyad, sparking complaints from Turkey because of the large number of Arab refugees created by the takeover. The Kurds have since imposed a curfew and travel restrictions on those towns, trying to prevent civilians from fleeing their rule “without permission.”
That Sunni Arab civilians have fled out of Kurdish-held territory into ISIS-held territory has allowed ISIS to present itself as the “liberators” of the Sunni Arab majority in this part of Syria, while Turkey has threatened intervention to prevent the Kurds from getting too powerful.