Kurdish forces capture key Syrian town near Turkey

Damascus, Feb 16 (IANS) Kurdish-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on Monday captured over 70 percent of a key town in northern Syria near Turkish borders, a monitor group reported.

The SDF backed by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) captured over 70 percent of the Tal Rifat town, located between the northern city of Aleppo and the strategic city of Azaz on the Turkish borders, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Xinhua reported.

Tal Rifat was a major stronghold for the Turkey-backed militant groups.

Turkey started pounding the Kurdish positions in northern Syria over the past 48 hours to prevent them from further extending their presence along the Syrian-Turkish borders.

A day earlier, the Observatory, which relies on a network of activists on ground, said Turkey had allowed 350 armed rebels to enter, through its borders, into the northern province of Aleppo to take part in defending Tal Rifat.

It said that Turkish authorities allowed 350 Syria rebels with light and heavy arms to move from Syria’s northwestern province of Idlib through the Turkish borders, namely the Atamah military crossing, into Syria’s northern province of Aleppo to take part in defending Tal Rifat.

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