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Kurdish Forces Seize IS Supply Route in Syria

  • VOA News

In this photo taken from the Turkish side of the border between Turkey and Syria, in Akcakale, southeastern Turkey, people watch as smoke from a U.S.-led airstrike rises over the outskirts of Tal Abyad, Syria, June 15, 2015.

In this photo taken from the Turkish side of the border between Turkey and Syria, in Akcakale, southeastern Turkey, people watch as smoke from a U.S.-led airstrike rises over the outskirts of Tal Abyad, Syria, June 15, 2015.

Syrian monitors say Kurdish fighters have seized nearly all of a major Syrian border town from Islamic State, cutting off a key militant supply route.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Monday the Kurds control all but a few small pockets of Tal Abyad.

U.S.-led coalition airstrikes on Islamic State targets helped push back the militants and played a large part in allowing the Kurds to move in.

Tal Abyad, along the Syrian-Turkish border, was one end of a major supply route that ran to the Islamic State headquarters in Raqqa. The militants use it to smuggle weapons and fighters into Syria and to sell oil on the black market -- a key source of funding.

Fighting in the area has sent thousands of Syrian civilians across the border to find safety in Turkey. When some Turkish guards refused to let the Syrians pass, the refugees began passing children and babies over the top of a wire fence.

Turkish authorities are worried about adding to the already serious refugee problem and emboldening Kurdish militias, strengthening separatist sentiment among Turkey's Kurdish minority.

Meanwhile, United Nations envoy Staffan de Mistura is in Damascus to meet with top Syrian government officials on efforts to reach a cease-fire in the country's civil war. He plans to stress that the Syrian government has a duty to protect civilians and that using such weapons as barrel bombs in civilian areas has to stop.

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