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Syrian Kurds Push Islamist Fighters from Town on Turkish Border

A Syrian Kurdish party with links to militants in Turkey has seized control of a Syrian town on the Turkish border after days of clashes with Islamist fighters.

Syrian activists and the Turkish military each confirmed Syrian Kurdish fighters from the Democratic Union Party, or PYD, captured Ras al-Ain and its nearby border crossing with Turkey, pushing out Arab fighters from the al-Qaida-linked al-Nusra Front.

Fighting in the town has now stopped.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 29 people were killed in the fighting - which erupted on the border Tuesday after al-Nusra fighters attacked a Kurdish patrol.

The Observatory said the fighting also spread to oil fields about 200 kilometers east of Ras al-Ain in the largely Kurdish province of Hassakeh.

In a statement, the Turkish military described the PYD - which wants an autonomous region within Syria - as a "separatist terrorist organization."

Turkey has has been watching developments in neighboring Syria closely, concerned a Kurdish power grab to the south could strengthen PKK militants in Turkey with whom Ankara has embarked on a peace process.



On Tuesday, Turkish troops shot at PYD fighters in Syria after two rocket-propelled grenades fired from Syria struck a border post on the Turkish side of the frontier.

A Turkish citizen was killed and a 15-year-old boy seriously wounded in another incident Tuesday when stray fire from Syria struck the police headquarters and several homes in the adjacent Turkish town of Ceylanpinar.

It was the most serious spillover of violence into Turkey from Syria in weeks.

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