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Kobani Ravaged Following Kurdish Ouster of IS Militants


Kurdish Fighters Celebrate Kobani Victory
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EXCLUSIVE VOA VIDEO: Kurdish Fighters Celebrate Kobani Victory

Images from the recently liberated Syrian town of Kobani show a city in ruins with destroyed buildings, abandoned cars and rubble filling the streets.

Kurdish fighters claimed Monday to have recaptured Kobani, after fighting Islamic State militants for control of the embattled border town for months, backed by U.S. airstrikes.

Video showed block after block leveled by aerial bombardment, neighborhoods strewn with tangled steel and unexploded mortar shells.

Watch related VOA video from Kobani (Jan. 27. 2015)

Kobani Reduced to Rubble Following Kurdish Ouster of IS Militants
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Despite the damage, hundreds of Kobani refugees sheltering in Turkey have begun making their way to the border, saying they are ready to return home.

Kurdish forces Wednesday held some back, saying fighting continued on the outskirts of the city.

VOA's Turkish stringer reported that Turkish forces intervened against hundreds of people who gathered to cross into Kobani from the Turkish border town of Suruc, firing tear gas and water cannon at the crowd.

The stringer said tensions decreased after the group moved back from the border following a call from officials with a pro-Kurdish Turkish political party (Peoples' Democratic Party, or HDP).

Kobani, Syria
Kobani, Syria

In an interview with VOA's Kurdish service, the governor of Kobani, Anwar Moslem, said brave Kurdish men and women proved to the world that Islamic State terror can be stopped. He said the liberation of Kobani was a joint effort by the U.S.-led coalition and the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG).

He thanked the United States for its air support, as well as Free Syrian Army groups and "our Peshmerga brothers" for contributing to the liberation of Kobani.

Moslem said that despite his belief that Kobani was fully liberated, Islamic State fighters outside the city still presented a danger. He said he hoped Kurdish forces could eliminate "IS terror in the near future."

On Monday, the U.S. Defense Department said Kurdish fighters controlled about 90 percent of Kobani.