Tel Abyad known as Gire Spi in Kurdish, which is the border town known as a vital supply route for Islamic State (IS), has been taken by the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) with support from various anti-regime rebel groups and US-led international coalition air strikes.
Tel Abyad had been a major conduit for IS, with a flow of fresh jihadists crossing from Turkey, and black market oil being smuggled in the opposite direction.
In the last few days, as the YPG advanced on the town and residents fled the fighting, photographs emerged of Turkish soldiers refusing to allow the refugees to cross the border. As well as using water cannon, the soldiers appeared to allow IS militants to force people back in what was then territory controlled by the extremist group. In the photo, an Islamic State fighters smiling with Turkish soldiers…
Turkey opened the border on Sunday, at first allowing a few families across. Authorities said they expected as many as 10,000 people to cross the border in total.
Last night the Turkish guards were photographed arresting smiling IS jihadists. The militants put up little fight and those not arrested either crossed the border into Turkey without incident or fled south to the ‘capital’ of the caliphate, Raqqa.
The Kurds now control a 400km stretch of the Syria-Turkey border, linking the cantons of Kobani and Cizera and making the Ankara government increasingly uncomfortable. Any successes for Kurds in Syria may stir the Kurdish separatist cause in Turkey.