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Guardian: Islamic State fighters have launched simultaneous attacks against the Syrian army and Kurdish militia overnight, going back on the offensive after losing ground in recent days to Kurdish-led forces in Raqqa province.The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Isis had re-entered the border town of Kobani, where it is battling Kurdish militia, and wrested positions from the Syrian army in an assault on the north-eastern city of Hasakah.
Kobani was captured by Kurdish forces from Isis in January after months of fighting. Overnight Isis launched a new offensive on the town, starting with a car bomb explosion near the border crossing, the observatory said.
Hospital officials in the town, also known as Ayn al-Arab, told Reuters that at least 12 people were killed and 70 wounded in the blast and subsequent fighting.
“Isis detonated a suicide bomb in the area near the border crossing with Turkey, killing at least five people,” said observatory director, Rami Abdurrahman. “Fierce clashes erupted afterwards in the centre of the town and there are bodies lying in the streets.”
Abdurrahman did not give a specific death toll and said fighting was still raging on Thursday morning.
A Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) official also reported that a car bomb had exploded as Isis militants staged an attack from three sides of the town.
Thousands of people who fled Kobani across the border to Turkey during the original fighting have since returned. Welat Omer, a doctor, told Reuters that about 60-70 people had been wounded in the latest attacks, many of them women and children.
In recent weeks, YPG forces have advanced from Kobani in Aleppo province into neighbouring Raqqa province, the Isis stronghold. They captured the strategic town of Tal Abyad, also on the border with Turkey, and pushed towards Isis’s de-facto Syrian capital, Raqqa city.
Meanwhile, Syrian state TV reported heavy clashes between Isis fighters and the Syrian army and allied militia in the al-Nashwa district of Hasakah, which is divided into separate zones of government and Kurdish control.
In a separate offensive, rebel groups attacked Syrian government-held areas of Deraa city in the south, the observatory said. Insurgents have dealt the forces of the president, Bashar al-Assad, significant blows in the area in recent months.
The southern rebels, who include the al-Qaida-linked al-Nusra Front and groups that do not share its jihadi ideology, have long said they aim to expel Syrian government forces from Deraa city itself. Syrian state TV said the army had repelled attacks against a number of military positions in the south of the country.
About 70% of Deraa province is already under the control of rebel groups, AFP reported.
Islamic State fighters launched simultaneous attacks against the Syrian army and Kurdish militia overnight, moving back on the offensive after losing ground in recent days to Kurdish-led forces in the Islamist group’s stronghold of Raqqa province.
In a separate offensive, rebel groups attacked Syrian government-held areas of Deraa city in the south, one of the areas where insurgents have dealt President Bashar al-Assad’s forces significant blows in recent months, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.
Backed by U.S.-led air strikes, the Kurdish YPG militia has driven deep into Raqqa province in the last two weeks, capturing key positions from the jihadists including Tel Abyad at the border with Turkey.
In an apparent bid to seize back the initiative, Islamic State wrested positions from the Syrian army in an assault on the northeastern city of Hasaka, while also launching an attack on the Kurdish-held town of Kobani at the Turkish border, the Observatory said.
Syrian state TV reported heavy clashes between Islamic State fighters and the Syrian army and allied militia in the al-Nashwa district of Hasaka, which is divided into separate zones of government and Kurdish control.
The Islamic State offensive against Kobani, also known as Ayn al-Arab, started with a car bomb attack in an area near the border crossing with Turkey, the Observatory said. Islamic State fighters were battling Kurdish forces in the town itself.
An official in the Kurdish YPG said Islamic State fighters were attacking the town from three sides. The Observatory said dozens of people were killed or wounded in the bombing and subsequent fighting.
Kurdish forces, helped by U.S. and allied air support, retook control of Kobani at the end of January after a four-month siege by Islamic State.
In southern Syria, rebel groups attacked government-held areas of Deraa city overnight, and heavy fighting and army air strikes were reported in the area, the Observatory said.
Insurgents have made significant gains against the Syrian military and allied militia in the south in recent months, capturing positions including a military base, a border crossing with Jordan, and a town.
The southern rebels, who include the al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front and groups that do not share its jihadist ideology, have long said they aim to expel Syrian government forces from Deraa city itself.
Syrian state TV said the army had repelled attacks against a number of military positions in the south of the country.