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Kurdish Fighters Drive IS From Kobani

Turkish soldiers stand guard near the Mursitpinar border gate in Suruc in Sanliurfa province as smoke rises in the Syrian town of Kobani in the background, June 27, 2015.

Kurdish fighters have driven the Islamic State group from the Syrian border town of Kobani, two days after the jihadists took over several of the town's neighborhoods, according to a Syrian watchdog group and activists.

The official SANA news agency also said Kobani had been cleared of Islamic State fighters and that forces were searching for any remaining militants.

At least 174 civilians have been killed in the conflict since the Islamic State group infiltrated the town Thursday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The Islamic State operation was widely seen as vengeance for a series of defeats at the hands of Kurdish militia, particularly the jihadists' loss of Tal Abyad, another border town further east, on June 16.

"IS doesn't want to take over the town. They just came to kill the highest number of civilians in the ugliest ways possible," local journalist Mostafa Ali told the French news agency AFP Friday.

Civilians killed

Observatory Director Rami Abdel Rahman said the bodies found on Saturday bore bullet marks and appeared to include entire families.

"The bodies were found littered in homes and in the streets, laying here and there," Rahman said.

A total of 16 Kurdish fighters and 54 jihadists were also killed.

Kurdish forces are now looking for Islamic State fighters who may have gone underground in Kobani, activist Mustafa Bali told The Associated Press by telephone from Kobani.

Local journalist Rudi Mohammad Amin said all of Kobani is "under the control" of the Kurdish fighters.

Kurdish fighters, backed by U.S.-led coalition airstrikes, recaptured the contested town of Kobani near the Turkish border early this year and have since been chipping away at Islamic State control in other border areas.

Some material for this report came from AP and AFP.