ISIS militants pull back from key Syrian town of Kobane after air strikes: Monitor

Smoke rises from the city centre of the Syrian town of Ain al-Arab, known as Kobane by the Kurds, as seen from the Turkish-Syrian border during heavy fighting, in the south-eastern town of Suruc, Sanliurfa province, on Oct 7, 2014. Militants fro
Smoke rises from the city centre of the Syrian town of Ain al-Arab, known as Kobane by the Kurds, as seen from the Turkish-Syrian border during heavy fighting, in the south-eastern town of Suruc, Sanliurfa province, on Oct 7, 2014. Militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) withdrew from some parts of the embattled Syrian town overnight after air strikes by a US-led coalition, a monitor said on Wednesday, Oct 8. -- PHOTO: AFP

BEIRUT (AFP) - Militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group withdrew from some parts of the embattled Syrian town of Kobane overnight after air strikes by a United States-led coalition, a monitor said on Wednesday.

Mr Rami Abdel Rahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said "fighters from the Islamic State withdrew overnight from several areas in the east of Ain al-Arab (Kobane) and the south-western edges". After the pullback, the group's fighters were present in eastern parts of the strategic town and its southern edges, but were no longer inside on the western front, Mr Abdel Rahman said.

He said the move came after "their rear positions were hit in strikes, causing casualties and damaging at least four of their vehicles". ISIS fighters entered Kobane, also known as Ain al-Arab, on Monday night, after nearly three weeks of fighting around the town on the Syria-Turkey border.

On Tuesday, fighting raged in the east, west and south of Kobane, which is Syria's third biggest Kurdish town, and a US-led coalition fighting ISIS carried out multiple air strikes around the town.

Mr Mustafa Ebdi, a Kurdish journalist and activist from Kobane, wrote on his Facebook page that "the streets of the Maqtala neighbourhood in south-eastern Kobane are full of the bodies of Daesh fighters", using the Arabic acronym for ISIS.

But he added that hundreds of civilians remained in the town and "the humanitarian situation is difficult and people need food and water".

ISIS began its advance on Kobane on Sept 16, quickly sweeping through the surrounding countryside and prompting an estimated 186,000 people to flee the region across the border into Turkey.

According to the Observatory, at least 412 people have been killed in the fighting, though the group said it believes the true toll could be twice as high.