Members of the Islamic State group have acknowledged for the first time that they were defeated in the Syrian town of Kobani.
On Monday, activists and Kurdish officials said the town was cleared of IS fighters, who once held nearly half of the town. The failure to capture Kobani was a major blow to the extremists, whose hopes for an easy victory dissolved into a costly siege under withering airstrikes by coalition forces and an assault by Kurdish militiamen.
According to the interviews given to ISIS-aligned Amak news agency in Syria, it was those airstrikes that won the battle for Kobani, referred to by the fighters as Ayn Al-Islam.
“Recently we have withdrawn from Ayn Al-Islam bit by bit, because of the airstrikes and deaths of a number of our brothers,” said one of the two fighters, his face covered apart from his eyes.
It`s too soon to say “mission accomplished “because battles rage on to the southeast and southwest of the city, a senior U.S. State Department official said.
More than 200,000 refugees who fled to Turkey joyously celebrated the victory claim, Reuters reported. They are eager to return home after months of cold weather, hunger and poverty.