July 8, 2015 / 4:18 PM / in 2 years

Syrian Kurds reclaim town from Islamic State: monitor

BEIRUT (Reuters) - A Syrian Kurdish militia on Wednesday recaptured a town that had been stormed by Islamic State fighters earlier this week north of the jihadist group’s base of operations in Raqqa city, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.

Islamic State fighters had stormed the town of Ain Issa on Monday, part of a wider attack by the jihadist group on areas held by the Kurdish YPG militia. Ain Issa is 50 km (30 miles) north of Raqqa city.

The latest advance by the YPG comes amid to-and-fro battles with Islamic State fighters across northern Syria, who have also been clashing with the Syrian military around Hasaka city further east.

A drone strike as part of a U.S.-led air campaign against Islamic State killed a senior figure from the group in Raqqa city overnight, the Observatory said earlier on Wednesday. The strike killed an Uzbek leader of the group involved in security as he sat in a car outside a downtown hotel.

Islamic State has attracted foreign fighters from across the world to fight in its self-declared caliphate across parts of Syria and Iraq. It has named Raqqa its de-facto capital.

The United States says it has intensified an aerial campaign against Islamic State in Syria with a wave of strikes in and around Raqqa city.

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said on Monday heavy bombardment during the weekend that also included destroying bridges over waterways in the city, which is bordered to the south by the Euphrates river, was aimed at further eroding the militants’ capabilities.

Reporting by Tom Perry and Sylvia Westall; editing by Ralph Boulton and Digby Lidstone

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