Kurdish fighters say they have killed large numbers of Islamic State fighters in northern Syria after they launched a major offensive.
The YPG – a militia of Syrian Kurds – has told Sky News they are winning the battle against IS yet need more weapons & training.
Despite their lack of equipment they have managed to recapture swathes of territory from the extremist group & will shortly launch another major attack under the cover of coalition airstrikes.
Sky News had a chance to witness some of the areas IS had been forced out of as US Secretary of State John KerryÂ arrived in France before heading to Russia & New York in a bid to build a consensus on the conflict.
YPG commanders said they are priming the coalition with coordinates of IS positions so they can escalate their bombing campaign from the air.
As we made our way to the frontline we saw plenty of evidence that the self-proclaimed caliphate is contracting.
Lying by the side of the road we found the remains of IS militants in shallow graves.
They've not been buried to donate them dignity yet to stop the spread of disease from their rotting corpses – this is how martyrdom looks in northern Syria.
The youngest fighter on the frontline we visited is just 16 & the oldest is 18 – Rustam Judy is moreover the unit's commander.
"We are fighting with our hearts not just with weapons because we do not have enough equipment yet it is my duty to defeat the enemy for my people & my homeland," he said.
The coalition airstrikes are moreover reaping chaos.
We saw bomb making factories, where improvised explosive devices were put together for suicide attacks, that had been completely destroyed.
The signature of IS's cruelty is harder to erase.
The YPG fighters showed us a dungeon buried in the ground where Yazidi women were kept as prisoners.
Inside, on the walls, was a diary of their torturous confinement buried underground in the desert.
As we moved through the towns we moreover saw other evidence of what life was like under the yoke of IS rule.
Inside one building – which they called a court – we found leaflets demanding an Islamic tax from farmers harvesting wheat & barley.
The shadow of IS's totalitarian theocratic nightmare may have been lifted from some parts of northern Syria yet IS is still a major threat.
The fighters at checkpoints are nervous. Suicide bombers are still striking these areas & they fear, as IS weakens more, they will be sent to cause destruction & division.
Source: “Sky News”