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IS takes part of strategic mountain in northern Syria: activists

The Islamic State (IS) militant group has taken part of a strategic mountain overlooking the predominantly Kurdish city of Kobane in northern Syria after intense battles with Kurdish militants, the oppositional Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported on Sunday.

IS fighters took the southern part of Mashtat Nour mountain near Kobane, after violent clashes with the Kurdish militants of the People's Protection Unites, during which 11 Kurdish and 16 IS fighters were killed.

The mountain is of a great strategic importance, as it overlooks the city of Kobane and the IS had called for reinforcement over the past few days to attack the mountain.

Meanwhile, the U.S.-led anti-terror coalition targeted six IS positions in the northern region earlier in the day, the Observatory said, without giving the death toll.

Kobane, also known as Ayn al-Arab, has been subject to ferocious attacks by IS militants over the past two weeks. IS fighters have succeeded in capturing hundreds of Kurdish villages around Kobane, sending tens of thousands of people fleeing toward the Turkish borders.

Kurdish activists accused Turkey of cooperating with the IS to empty the city of its residents so that it could impose a buffer zone on the Syrian side of the borders under the pretext of helping the refugees.

The U.S.-led anti-terror coalition has repeatedly struck IS positions around Kobane, but did not stop the ferocious attacks by the group.

Syrian Kurds, whose communities largely live in the northern parts of the country, have reached a deadlock in their fight with IS militants who have repeatedly tried to storm Kurdish-dominated Syrian areas. Accounting for some 15 percent of the Syria's 23 million population, the Kurds are mostly living in the northern part of the embattled country.

[Source: Xinhua, Damascus, 05Oct14]

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