(ANF/KOBANÊ) The YPG has released official casualty figures for the month of March, which witnessed heavy fighting between the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS) and the YPG as the former launched a series of attacks against the Kobanê Canton. According to YPG figures at least 419 ISIS members were killed in clashes with the YPG and the El Ekrad Front and 10 more were taken prisoner. 13 YPG fighters also lost their lives in the defense of the city.
The fighting began when the ISIS, which had established itself in the region between Azzaz and Aleppo last year began to pull out of the region after an ultimatum from the El Ekrad Front. ISIS fighters from Aleppo, Idlib, Hama, Homs and Latakia moved into areas around Kobanê and launched a three front attack against the canton beginning on March 8th.
The ISIS opened their assault with mortar fire against the villages of Fiyonte, Bir Ketik and Evdik to the east of Kobanê. The YPG responded to the ISIS attacks in the village of Bir Kino, where they killed 4 gang members. The same day the ISIS launched an attack on a passenger bus in which one woman and one child were killed.
Between March 8th and April 8th there was fighting every couple of days. In addition to killing over 400 ISIS members and capturing 10 more, the YPG was able to seize a large quantity of military equipment. Among the ISIS dead were fighters from Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan, Tunisia and Egypt. Documents recovered from ISIS fighters also confirmed they were receiving support from the Saudi and Turkish governments.
One of the more violent clashes occurred on March 13th, when granaries near the town of Sırrin and under the control of the YPG, the El Ekrad Front and Ahrar El Suriye came under attack. In the ensuing clashes the YPG killed 35 ISIS fighters. In fighting the following day one member of Ahrar El Suriye was killed.
Another large battle took place on March 17th when YPG forces killed around 40 ISIS members in the region of Qereqozak. On March 18th 700 ISIS members were transported by bus from Latakia to the town of Sırrin and around 70 ISIS members were killed in violent clashes in this region.
As fighting intensified to the west, south and east of Kobanê the YPG called for a general mobilization on March 18th. Following this call thousands mobilized all around Rojava Kurdistan and many of them took up arms.
On March 19th the YPG killed 13 ISIS members including 3 ISIS commanders in fighting which broke out to the west of Kobanê. The names of two of the commanders – Ebu Yusuf El Tenfizi and Edhem El Çaçani – are known while the name of the third, an Egyptian, remains uncertain.
ISIS operatives attempted to carry out a bombing in the Kobanê region using a bus loaded with explosives on March 21st in order to coincide with Newroz celebrations. However the plot was discovered by the YPG and the bus was destroyed.
On March 27th ISIS forces launched attacks on areas to the east of Kobanê in which 25 ISIS members were killed. The following day the ISIS once again attacked the granaries near the town of Sırrin with around 60 fighters moving into the area by car. The YPG repulsed the attack, killing at least 1 ISIS fighter and destroying a vehicle.
The most violent fighting thus far this month took place on April 3rd, where ISIS units attacked the villages of Beyada and Zorxemar to the west of Kobanê. 35 ISIS fighters died in the fighting, including a commander named Ebu Dojan and fighters by the names Şeyh Abdul Rahman Yemni, Fadıl bin Ebu Antar, Ebu Bekir el Mısri and Ebu Halid El Cezayiri. These individuals were thought to be responsible for a series of bombing attacks against the Free Syrian Army in the region of Şıyuk and for the kidnapping of civilians.
In fighting on April 6th in the area of Girê Sor to the west of Kobanê between the YPG and the ISIS another 2 ISIS members lost their lives. On the same day a further 6 were killed in fighting in the village of Kendal in the district of Girê Spî (Arabic:Til Ebyad).
Yesterday, April 7th the ISIS launched a frontal assault on El Tel between the village of Qelhide and the town of Sırrin to the south of Kobanê. Violent clashes ensued and - according to sources close to the YPG – the ISIS lost 8 more fighters, three of whose bodies they brought to the village of Dali. It is reported that one of the dead is the ISIS commander Ehmed Hisen Eli Hebu. The other bodies were transported to the district of Minbic near Aleppo.