Fierce clashes raged Saturday after Syrian Kurds seized from terrorists a crossing on the Iraqi border, a key supply route for weapons and fighters in the 31-month war, activists said.
According to AFP, fighters from both sides were killed in the border clashes, which came a day after Syrian government and its opponents traded blame for a car bomb attack on a mosque that left dozens dead.
The armed Kurdish group YPG told Reuters fighting carried on through the morning and a senior security official on the Iraqi side of the crossing said he could hear gunshots, mortar fire and shelling.
The Kurds "took control of the Al-Yaarubia border crossing with Iraq at dawn after clashes with the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, the Al-Nusra Front and other rebels," the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, citing activists.
YPG spokesman Redur Xelil told Reuters Kurdish areas in Syria were blockaded by Islamist groups on one side, Turkish forces on the other and the closed border with Iraqi Kurdistan. But he said it was "too soon to talk about using the crossing".
Ethnic Kurds, who are regarded as having a complex role in nearly three years of conflict in Syria, have been struggling to carve out an autonomous northeastern region similar to one in northern Iraq, further complicating the Syrian war.
The seizure of the border post would be another blow for the Islamists. State television said late Friday that Al-Nusra leader Abu Mohammed al-Jawlani had been killed, but the Al-Qaeda-linked group said he was in good health.
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