Seized Town Formally Joins Syrian Kurdish Region

Tel Abyad Was Former ISIS Town

The town of Tel Abyad, in the Raqqa Province, was seized by Kurdish forces over the summer after intense fighting with ISIS, it changed hands a few times after that, and saw an exodus of its Sunni Arab residents when it became clear the Kurds were going to remain in power.

Today, Kurdish officials announced that the town is formally being absorbed into the Kurdish autonomous region, and will be annexed into the Kobani canton of their government. The local government will be represented by a leadership council made up of locals who remained after the takeover.

YPG officials said the takeover would strengthen the influence of the Kobani canton, one of three in the Kurdish region, though they maintained that they will allow the locals to be self-governing on most matters. Tel Abyad is likely to be used as a staging ground for further attacks against ISIS territory.

The accession of captured towns into the Kurdish-governed region is likely to prove hugely controversial with Turkey, particularly as Tel Abyad is not far from the border. Turkey has loudly objected to the growth of the autonomous Kurdish region in Syria, fearing it would lead to spill-over sentiment within Turkey.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of