Kurdish militia is winning a battle against IS

A Kurdish militia in Syria says it is winning a battle against Islamic State (IS) fighters around the Syrian city of Hasakah, with the aid of US-led air strikes.

The Kurds are working with other militias under an umbrella group called the Syrian Democratic Forces.

They say they have killed 200 IS fighters in the three-week operation which is an extension of the battle for Sinjar in Iraq two weeks ago.

The Syrian Democratic Forces said they had also received bomb damage assessments estimating another 195 IS fighters were killed in air strikes.

They have now pushed IS out of a slew of villages between the Iraqi border and Hasakah in north-eastern Syria.

A former government military base that had been held by IS for five months was retaken.

The militia also seized weapons and ammunition, including an anti-aircraft gun and 68 improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

The Kurds said during one battle IS fighters launched counterattacks using two suicide car bombers, which they had to shoot at with AK-47s and rocket-propelled grenades.

The militia said they had faced 43 car bombs over the three-week campaign.

However, seven or eight of them were destroyed by close air support by air strikes before they could get to the Kurdish fighters’ lines.

Up to 50 US special forces soldiers will be sent to the area in the first open, sustained US presence on the ground.