BEIRUT (AP) — Kurdish fighters advanced in the northern Syrian town of Kobani on Monday, capturing a vital zone housing government buildings after heavy fighting with Islamic State militants, a Kurdish official and an activist group said.
Kobani official Idriss Nassan and the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Syrian Kurdish forces captured the so-called security quarter, which houses the police headquarters and other government buildings.
The IS group stormed the security quarter on Oct. 10 but later lost parts of it in a Kurdish counteroffensive.
Kurdish fighters have been slowly advancing in Kobani with the support of Iraqi peshmerga forces. The U.S.-led coalition has also played a key role, carrying out waves of airstrikes against IS positions in and around the town.
The U.S. Central Command said eight airstrikes struck two large IS units and an IS fighting position in Kobani on Sunday. It added that the airstrikes destroyed 11 IS fighting positions.
Nassan and the Observatory said Syrian Kurdish fighters, known as the People's Protection Units, or YPG, now control about 80 percent of the town. Nassan said IS fighters still control Kobani's eastern neighborhoods of Maqtala and Kani Kordan.
"Hopefully within days the Units (YPG) will be control of the whole city," Nassan said. "The advance has become faster and the airstrikes are more intense."
The IS group launched its Kobani offensive in mid-September, and quickly overran much of the town as well as almost all of the surrounding villages. Hundreds of fighters on both sides have been killed since then.