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Syrian Kurdish fighters chase IS from key base north of Raqa: NGO

Kurdish YPG fighters hold their movement's flag near the Akcakale crossing gate between Turkey and Syria on June 15, 2015
Bulent Kilic (AFP)
Syrian regime barrel bomb kill at least 10 civilians in attack on Aleppo mosque during evening prayers

Kurdish YPG fighters hold their movement's flag near the Akcakale crossing gate between Turkey and Syria on June 15, 2015 ( Bulent Kilic (AFP) )

Syrian Kurdish fighters have chased Islamic State militants from a key base north of the jihadists' stronghold city of Raqa, according to a monitoring group.

The Kurdish People's Protection Units -- with US-led air support -- took complete control of the Liwa (Brigade) 93 base on Monday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

"IS lines of defense were pushed back to the gates of Raqa," added Rami Abdel Rahman, director of the Observatory.

"The Kurds also entered the outskirts of the town of Ayn Issa, close to Brigade 93... this town has basically fallen in the military sense with the capture of the base."

The base was important due to its position overlooking strategic roads linking Raqa to other IS outposts in the provinces of Aleppo to the west and Hasakah to the east.

IS militants had held the military base after capturing it from regime forces last summer.

The taking of the base is the second blow inflicted on IS fighters by the Kurds in a week after the capture of Tal Abyad, on Syria's border with Turkey.

Tal Abyad was a key conduit for foreign fighters and supplies into IS-held territory in Syria and for exports of black market oil from jihadist-held fields.

Kurdish forces defended the Syrian town of Kobane against IS in a months-long battle, and have emerged as some of the most effective forces battling the jihadist group in the year since it declared a cross-border "caliphate" with neighboring Iraq.

The Observatory also added that at least 10 civilians, including two children, were killed in a government barrel bomb attack on a mosque in Syria's northern city of Aleppo.

"The faithful were in the middle of the Maghrib (evening) prayers in a mosque in Aleppo's rebel-held district of Ansari," the Observatory said, adding that the attack also left some 20 people injured.

(with AFP)

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