Syrian Kurdish town declares independence from Damascus

Kobani, on the Turkish border, raises Kurdish flags after Assad troops leave

Ilan Ben Zion, a reporter at the Associated Press, is a former news editor at The Times of Israel.

A northern Syrian city has broken free of Damascus without resorting to violence and the Kurdish National Council has taken over, a Syrian opposition group reported on Thursday.

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After Syrian military forces retreated from Kobani, a predominantly Kurdish city located near the Turkish border, residents stormed the local security headquarters. The local Kurdish authorities raised the Kurdish national flag at municipal buildings.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that the Kurdish Popular Defence Committees took over the city of Kobani (also known by the Arabic name Ein al-Arab) without resorting to violence.

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Pictures circulating on Twitter showed crowds of revelers bearing Free Syrian and Kurdish flags. Videos on YouTube show protesters burning and stomping on pictures of President Bashar Assad and waving Kurdish flags.

Syria is home to approximately two million Kurds, most of whom live in the country’s northeast.


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