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Kurds capture key area in Kobani

Kurdish fighters have advanced in the northern Syrian town of Kobani after heavy fighting with Islamic State militants, local officials and activists say.

Kobani official Idriss Nassan and the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Syrian Kurdish forces had captured the so-called security quarter, which houses the police headquarters and other government buildings.

The IS group stormed the security quarter on October 10 but later lost parts of it in a Kurdish counter-offensive.

Kurdish fighters have been slowly advancing in Kobani with the support of Iraqi peshmerga forces. The US-led coalition has also played a key role, carrying out waves of air strikes against IS positions in and around the town.

US Central Command said eight air strikes struck two large IS units and a fighting position in Kobani on Sunday.

Mr Nassan and the Observatory said Syrian Kurdish fighters, known as People's Protection Units, or YPG, now control about 80% of the town. Mr Nassan said IS fighters still control Kobani's eastern neighbourhoods of Maqtala and Kani Kordan.

"Hopefully within days the units (YPG) will be in control of the whole city," he said. "The advance has become faster and the air strikes are more intense."

The IS group launched its Kobani offensive in mid-September, and quickly overran much of the town as well as almost all of the surrounding villages. Hundreds of fighters on both sides have been killed since then.

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