Syria Kurds regain control of Tal Abyad after IS attack

Beirut (AFP) - Syrian Kurdish forces regained full control of Tal Abyad on Wednesday, expelling Islamic State group fighters who had seized a district of the strategic border town, a monitor said.

"Kurdish fighters expelled IS from the Mashur al-Fawqani district that they had captured yesterday (Tuesday)," said Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

He said at least three fighters of the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) and four IS jihadists were killed in clashes on Wednesday.

YPG spokesman Redur Khalil confirmed that the town had been secured.

"The Daesh group that entered the Mashur al-Fawqani district... was eliminated completely and expelled from the area," he told AFP, using an Arabic acronym for IS.

He said three IS fighters had been killed in the fighting, and a fourth died detonating an explosive belt.

Tal Abyad, on the border with Turkey, was formerly an IS stronghold and served as a key conduit for the group to bring in weapons and fighters, and export black market oil.

But just over two weeks ago, Kurdish forces, backed by Syrian rebel allies and US-led air strikes, seized the town from the extremist group.

IS forces launched a surprise attack against the town on Tuesday, overrunning the Mashur al-Fawqani district in heavy fighting.

But by late Wednesday morning, the town was back under full Kurdish control, the Observatory said.

Elsewhere in Syria, a government air raid on a rebel-held district of second city Aleppo on Tuesday evening killed at least 11 people, the Britain-based group said.

The raid, using crude barrel bombs, came as residents were breaking their Ramadan fast, the Syrian Revolution General Commission activist group said.

Nationwide, government air strikes killed at least 40 people on Tuesday, the Observatory said.

Eleven people were killed in Douma, a rebel-held suburb of Damascus, and 18 were killed in Idlib province in the northwest.

In the northeastern city of Hasakeh, troops and militia battled to expel IS fighters from districts of the provincial capital they seized last week.

Government aircraft carried out strikes on IS positions in the south of the city on Wednesday, while the jihadists detonated at least two car bombs, the Observatory said.