Report: ISIS Ousted From Syrian City of Hasakah

Kurdish fighters and Syrian regime forces ousted the Islamic State (ISIS) from the northeastern Syrian city of Hasakah on Tuesday, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a U.K. based group that monitors the conflict.

ISIS militants had launched an assault on the city last month, particularly the city's government held southern areas, in a bid to tighten its grip on territory surrounding its de-facto capital, Raqqa.

Rami Abdel Rahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed that Kurdish and Syrian regime forces recaptured the entire city from the radical Islamists. The soliders wrestled the last neighborhood, Zuhur, from ISIS militants on Tuesday.

According to Rahman, the Kurdish fighters leading the offensive to beat back ISIS have now doubled the territory that they controlled in the city from before the terror group's assault, holding onto areas that were previously under the control of Bashar al-Assad's regime.

"After ISIS entered the city, the Kurdish fighters said 'OK we can fight against ISIS in Hasakah but, if we take the area that ISIS is taking, we do not give back this area to the regime,'" he says.

"Now what is going on after ISIS left Hasakah yesterday, the Kurdish fighters say they want to control the areas that were under regime control," he adds. "Before 24 June, the Kurds controlled around 30 percent of al-Hasakah city, now they control 70 percent of the city."

Before ISIS entered Hasakah, the city was divided between the Kurdish fighters and Assad's troops, but as the Syrian army's manpower begins to wane, the Kurds have taken the initiative.

Last week, ahead of the victory in Hasakah, Syrian-Kurdish spokesman Redur Xelil told Reuters that Kurdish militants were now the primary defenders of the city and that the presence of Assad's forces was merely "symbolic."

"The regime has collapsed [in the city]. It could not protect the city and its continuation has become symbolic in limited positions only," he said.

In the month-long ISIS assault on Hasakah, at least 287 of the group's fighters—including 26 child soldiers—were killed in clashes with the forces defending the city or by U.S.-led coalition airstrikes, according to the Observatory. The monitoring group, which uses an extensive network of sources on the ground in Syria, also said that 120 Syrian regime fighters and dozens of Kurdish fighters were killed in clashes.

Despite the Kurdish victory, the challenges facing the city's civilians continues. ISIS's retreating forces left "thousands" of landmines around the city, rendering at least 15 villages impossible to live in, a Kurdish commander told NBC News on condition of anonymity.

The ultra-conservative Islamist group used the same tactics in the northern Syrian city of Kobane following its defeat at the hands of Kurdish forces earlier this year. Months after ISIS's retreat, a series of unexploded ISIS munitions remained, meaning that many citizens were unable to return to their homes.

While ISIS captured large swathes of northern and eastern Syria last summe the group has suffered a number of losses to Kurdish forces fighting alongside the Free Syrian Army, who many consider to be a moderate rebel coalition.

A spokesman for the Syrian-Kurdish militia was not immediately available for comment.

Editor's Pick