BEIRUT - Kurdish forces backed by US-led air strikes have regained control of at least 163 villages around the Syrian town of Kobani after driving back Islamic State militants in the past three weeks, a group monitoring the conflict said on Saturday.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that although the Kurds had recaptured many villages since winning back Kobani in late January, their progress had been slowed by renewed clashes to the west and southwest of the town, where Islamic State had redirected its fighters.
The battle for the predominately Kurdish town, known as Ayn al-Arab in Arabic, became a focal point for the US-led air campaign against the al-Qaida offshoot in Syria.
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