Published by , REUTERS, Mon. June 22, 2015
“They have been defeated,” YPG spokesman Redur Xelil told Reuters.
Islamic State had held the military base, Liwa 93, southwest of Ain Issa, since capturing it from the Syrian military last year.
“This means that the Islamic State keeps collapsing inside its own stronghold,” said Rami Abdulrahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the conflict.
The rapid advance into Raqqa province has defied expectations of a protracted battle between the Kurdish YPG group and Islamic State fighters, who waged a four-month battle for the border town of Kobani, where the Kurds finally defeated the jihadists in January.
Raqqa is the main seat of power in Syria for Islamic State, the group also known as ISIS or ISIL, which has proclaimed a caliphate to rule over all Muslims from territory it controls in Syria and Iraq.
The United States has been leading an air campaign against the group in both countries since last year. The Kurds have been the most important partner so far for the U.S.-led campaign in Syria, where Washington has far fewer allies on the ground than in Iraq.
The Kurdish front in northern Syria has been one of the few sources of good news for the global campaign against Islamic State since the jihadists made major advances last month in western Iraq and central Syria.
A spokesman for the Pentagon said last week that Islamic State forces had appeared to “crack” at the Turkish border town of Tel Abyad, which fell to the YPG in less than two days, cutting Islamic State’s supply route from Turkey.