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ʿAfrin: YPG approaches frontline with IS

KurdWatch, February 23, 2016—On February 15 and 16, 2016, fighters from the Syrian Democratic Forces, dominated by the People’s Defense Units (YPG) of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), continued their attacks on the areas of the Syrian opposition east of ʿAfrin. Tall Rifʿat, a city twenty kilometers east of ʿAfrin, and the village of Shaikh ʿIsa were captured. Reports that the YPG negotiated a take-over without a struggle in the city of Mariʿ, ten kilometers east of Tall Rifʿat could not be verified at this time. If this is the case, the YPG has advanced to the frontline to the border of areas controlled by the Islamic State (IS). This advance is one step further to linking the PYD‑controlled enclaves of ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî) and ʿAfrin. Furthermore, the wedge has been increased that propelled the Syrian army’s offensive at the beginning of the month north of Aleppo between the opposition‑held territory around Aʿzaz and the opposition territory around Aleppo. 

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