Kurds, Assyrians push ISIL back in Syria: Observatory

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In this image posted on a militant social media account by the Al-Baraka division of the ISIL on Tuesday, February 24, 2015, a militant aims a sniper rifle during fighting in the town of Tal Tamer of the Hassakeh province in Syria (AP photo).
Kurdish fighters backed by local Assyrians have reportedly pushed terrorists of the ISIL Takfiri group back in northeastern Syria.

On Saturday, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported fighting around the town of Tal Tamer, which it said was coming under ISIL artillery fire.

Observatory director Rami Abdurrahman said the ISIL militants initially made gains but the Kurds forced them back.

The so-called Observatory said at least eight militants and an unknown number of Kurds were killed.

The Takfiris attacked a number of Christian villages in Syria’s northeast on Saturday, triggering heavy fighting with Kurdish forces and their local allies.

According to activists, the attacks, which started around dawn, hit at least three villages near Tal Tamer along the Khabur River in the Hasakah province.

Osama Edwards, the director of the Sweden-based Assyrian Network for Human Rights, said the center of the clashes was villages on the northern bank of the river as the ISIL terrorists are seeking to take the strategic town, some 35 kilometers (20 miles) from the city of Hasakah.

The ISIL terror group kidnapped over 220 Christians from several villages near Tel Tamer last month.  Terrorists have been trying to capture the town, which is the corridor to the eastern border of Iraq.

Also last month, Kurdish fighters liberated some 20 villages in the Hasakah province.

Hundreds of Assyrians —  indigenous Christian people who trace their roots back to ancient Mesopotamia — have already abandoned their villages to avoid bloody clashes.

The ISIL militants, with members from several Western countries, control parts of Syria and Iraq, and have been carrying out horrific acts of violence such as public decapitations and crucifixions against all ethnic and religious communities.

‘ISIL local leader killed’

Meanwhile on Saturday, Syrian state media said government airstrikes this week killed a local leader of the ISIL in the central province of Hama.

It identified the slain militant as Deib Hdeijan al-Otaibi, also known as Abi Ammar al-Jazrawi, and said a convoy of vehicles was also destroyed in the air raids.

Abdurrahman also said al-Jazrawi had been killed, along with at least 25 other ISIL militants.