Victory for Kurds as Isil driven out of Kobane
Activists say Kurdish fighters have finally gained full control of the Syrian town of Kobane, taking it back from Isil after four months of fierce fighting.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and Kobane-based activists say the Kurdish fighters managed yesterday to push back Isil from their remaining footholds in the eastern parts of the town.
By evening, the Kurdish fighters were celebrating and gunfire echoed across the town. The victory marked a major loss for Isil extremists, whose hopes for an easy victory when they pushed into Kobane last year instead dissolved into a bloody, costly and months-long siege.
Earlier yesterday actress Angelina Jolie, the special envoy for the United Nations Refugee Agency, UNHCR, made an urgent appeal for funding to assist more than three million displaced Iraqis and Syrians living in dire conditions in the region of northern Iraq.
Visiting Iraq for the fifth time, Ms Jolie said that the slow pace of funding this year to help people displaced by the conflicts in Syria and Iraq has triggered a humanitarian crisis that will lead to catastrophe if not addressed. The UNHCR said it received only 53pc of the $337 million required to fund its response to internal displacement in Iraq and Syria during 2014.
"We are being tested here as an international community and so far, for all the immense efforts and good intentions, the international community is failing," she told journalists at a camp for the displaced in the northern Iraqi city of Dohuk. "The people I met today need to know that we will be with them. Giving them the support they need to survive for every day they remain displaced. And above all they need to know that one day they will be able to go home."
The civil war in Syria, now entering its fourth year, prompted millions to flee their homes to neighbouring countries and abroad as the fighting showed no sign of easing. The fighting intensified and later spilled into Iraq as the militant Isil group rose up and seized about one-third of both Iraq and Syria.
The extremist militia's stunning territorial gains have driven millions more from their homes in both countries.
"Millions of people are internally displaced and over five million people are in dire need of humanitarian assistance in Syria alone," Jolie said. "They are paying the price for our collective failure to end the conflict."
More than 3.8 million Syrians have fled to Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan Iraq and Egypt.