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The Battle of Sarrin (June–July 2015) is a military operation during 2015 in the northeastern Aleppo Governorate, during the Syrian Civil War, in which the Kurdish YPG and Free Syrian Army forces captured the town of Sarrin and the surrounding region from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

Following nearly two months of an stalled earlier offensive, YPG-led fighters renewed offensive operations on Sarrin on 18 June 2015, followed by a full-fledged operation on 1 July, after ISIL's Kobanî massacre.[18] On 4 July, the town of Sarrin was fully besieged by YPG and FSA forces, as well as the village of Khirbat al-Burj and the Sarrin Grain Silos, both located north of Sarrin.[19] On 12 July, ISIL forces managed to break the sieges and reestablish a supply line to Sarrin, after receiving reinforcements.[20] However, on July 24, YPG and Free Syrian Army forces reestablished the siege of Sarrin,[21] with the sieges of the Sarrin Grain Silos and Khirbat al-Burj being fully reestablished by the next day.[22] On 27 July, YPG-led forces fully captured Sarrin and the surrounding region,[1][2][3][4] including 25 surrounding villages and 20+ farmlands,[5] and the YPG declared the end of their offensive.[23]


In mid-March 2015, the YPG and the allied Euphrates Volcano (Burkān al-Furāt) forces, backed by Coalition air support, launched an assault towards Sarrin, which was considered the last major ISIL stronghold in the Kobanî countryside.[24]

On 25 April 2015,[25] Kurdish forces and their allies surrounded the town on three sides and pushed into its suburbs,[9][26] after breaching ISIL's defense lines. The YPG claimed that ISIL forces had retreated into the urban areas of the town.[25] However, due to the continued arrival of ISIL reinforcements from the south, the YPG-led offensive in Sarrin stalled two days later.[9]

On 25 May, ISIL launched an assault to the north of Sarrin, breaking through Kurdish lines, capturing the villages of Mitras and Jabiriyah, and temporarily relieving the sieges of the Sarrin Grain Silos and Khirbat al-Burj. ISIL fighters also reduced Kurdish control of Sarrin to the western outskirts of the town.[27] By 31 May, clashes erupted in the area that ISIL had recently captured, as YPG-led fighters attempted to retake the area.[28]

On 5 June, YPG-led fighters recaptured the village of Jabiriyah, to the east of Mitras, while clashes continued in the area stretching from Sarrin to the Sarrin Grain Silos. ISIL retook the western part of the Sarrin, while YPG-led fighters pushed towards the eastern outskirts of the town.[29]

The battle

Renewed offensive

On 18 June 2015, it was reported that the FSA and YPG had launched a new offensive on the town of Sarrin, with YPG forces attacking from the north, supported by an FSA push from the east. YPG-led fighters also recaptured the village of Mitras.[30] On 25 June 2015, it was reported that around 175–400 ISIL militants were present in the Sarrin area.[15]

On 30 June, YPG-led fighters launched an operation to capture the town of Sarrin, in retaliation for the Kobanî massacre.[18] On 1 July, YPG-led forces had re-established the sieges of the Sarrin Grain Silos and Khirbat al-Burj, and pushed towards Sarrin from the north. The YPG also captured the remaining hills and villages to the west of Sarrin.[31]

On 2 July, YPG and FSA forces to the southeast of Sarrin advanced westward, towards the village of Magharatayn, threatening the last ISIL supply route to the south of Sarrin.[9] On 3 July, YPG-led forces captured Magharatayn and advanced towards the village of Malhah, located just west of Magharatayn, nearly severing the last road leading into Sarrin. Meanwhile, ISIL continued to send reinforcements from the south, as well as from the west bank of the Euphrates River, via covert boat crossings.[9]

Besieging Sarrin

On 4 July, the YPG, backed by Coalition airstrikes, was reportedly making further advances.[32] On the same day, it was reported that YPG-led forces captured the villages of Magharatayn and Malhah, to the south of Sarrin, severing the last supply route to Sarrin, and fully besieging the town. In response, ISIL carried out multiple vehicle bomb attacks in the area.[19]

On 7 July, ISIL was reportedly sending reinforcements to the south of Sarrin, in an attempt to break the siege of the town. At the same time, ISIL forces in Sarrin advanced southward towards Malhah, in an attempt to reopen the cut supply route.[16] ISIL also detonated more vehicle bombs in the area, including a vehicle bomb at the village of Nur Ali, in an attempt to slow down the Kurdish-led offensive.[16] Two of the vehicle bomb attacks were said to have been carried out by 16-year-olds.[9]

On 9 July, US-led Coalition airstrikes were reported to have dispersed ISIL forces in Sarrin into parts of the outskirts, whom were trying to avoid further airstrikes. On the same day, YPG led-forces tightened the siege of the town, and pushed into the eastern neighborhood of Sarrin.[9]

On 12 July, ISIL broke the siege in a counterattack, recapturing the village of Malhah, and reopening the supply route to the south of Sarrin. ISIL also relieved its besieged forces in Khirbat al-Burj and the Sarrin Grain Silos, and recaptured the villages of Mitras, Qasiq al Qibli (to the east of the Sarrin Grain Silos), with ISIL forces cutting across the M4 Highway at the Sarrin Grain Silos. ISIL forces also captured several villages around Sarrin; however, the YPG and FSA continued to control the high ground to the east and the west of Sarrin, still besieging the town from two sides.[20] Later on the same day, YPG and FSA counterattacks halted the ISIL advance in the area, with YPG-led forces recapturing some of the lost villages.[9]

On 18 July, YPG-led forces recaptured the village of Qasiq al Qibli, to the east of the Sarrin Grain Silos, with ISIL forces reportedly fleeing from the battle towards Sarrin. Although ISIL continued to reinforce its forces in Sarrin from the south, including cross-river operations, it was reported that ISIL was unable to make any further gains since its counterattack on 12 July.[9][33] Later on 18 July, YPG-led forces recaptured the village of Mitras, with the village of Qal at Hadid being fully secured by YPG-led forces on the next day. By 19 July, YPG and FSA fighters had recaptured the segment of the M4 Highway in the region, fully besieging ISIL fighters in the Sarrin Grain Silos once again, and capturing multiple villages to the east and the west of Sarrin.[9][34]

On 21 July, YPG and FSA forces had advanced to the eastern and western outskirts of Sarrin again, with ISIL reportedly reinforcing houses and preparing the roads in Sarrin for a YPG-led push into the town. ISIL fighters were also continuing to resupply their fighters from the south of Sarrin.[35]

On 22 July, ISIL attempted to recapture Mitras and to cross the M4 Highway again; however, this attack was repelled by multiple US-led Coalition airstrikes and a YPG-led counterattack.[36] Around the same time, it was reported that heavy clashes had broken out around the urban areas of Khirbat al-Burj and Sarrin. Meanwhile, the ISIL fighters left in the Sarrin Grain Silos remained besieged by YPG-led forces.[36]

On 23 July, multiple US-led Coalition airstrikes struck ISIL fortifications and troop concentrations inside of Sarrin and to the south of the town.[37]

On 24 July, YPG-led forces advanced again, crossing the highway and capturing the village of Malhah, once again cutting off ISIL's last supply route to Sarrin.[9][21] Heavy fighting continued around the urban areas of Sarrin.[21][38] It was reported that the Euphrates Volcano (Burkan Al-Firat) forces had been pounding Sarrin with artillery for the past week, and that ISIL shot at civilians who tried to leave the town.[9] On the next day, YPG and FSA forces advanced further southward, capturing the village of Milhah, located to the south of Malhah, further securing the siege of Sarrin.[39] Later on the same day, in response to the YPG and FSA advances, ISIL attacked YPG fighters on the road between Magharatayn and Malhah, which ran into the southern part of Sarrin, before firing mortar bombs on the area after their initial attack failed.[9]

Battle for Sarrin

On 25 July, YPG-led forces captured most of the villages around Sarrin, re-establishing the siege of Khirbat al-Burj, to the north of Sarrin, as well as fully securing the northern approaches to Sarrin.[9][22] Meanwhile, ISIL forces in the besieged Sarrin Grain Silos continued to hold out.[22] YPG-led forces were also reported to have stormed the town of Sarrin, entering the eastern neighborhoods of the town.[22] On the same day, ISIL attempted to launched another wave of vehicle bomb attacks to stop the YPG and FSA advance; however, the YPG-led forces reportedly destroyed the vehicles before ISIL was ready, killing 7 ISIL militants. ISIL also attacked the villages of Shuikh and Qara Qozak, but YPG-led fighters repelled these attacks as well, killing at least 1 ISIL fighter.[9]

On 26 July, ISIL militants holed up inside of the Sarrin Grain Silos blew up part of the structure, with the main tower collapsing from the detonation.[40][41][41] YPG-led forces captured the grain silos shortly afterwards.[42] Later on the same day, YPG and FSA forces were reported to have secured most of the southern portion of Sarrin, after heavy US-led Coalition airstrikes.[42][43][44][45] YPG fighters also attacked suspected ISIL militants between the villages of Geydade and Sina, to the northwest of Sarrin, killing five ISIL militants.[46] On the night of 26 July, YPG-led forces captured the security center at the center of Sarrin, while ISIL militants were said to have run out of ammunition. Around the same time, a convoy of ISIL fighters from Sarrin attempted to escape across the Euphrates River; however, the YPG destroyed the convoy, killing 17 ISIL militants.[9]

On 27 July, YPG and FSA forces captured the besieged village of Khirbat al-Burj, the last village outside of Sarrin that was still held by ISIL.[3][4] On the same day, YPG-led forces fully captured the town of Sarrin from ISIL.[1][2] In the following events, it was reported that YPG forces had sweeped the village and arrested 150 men accused of being members or collaborators of ISIL.[47]


On 29 July, the SOHR reported that violent clashes had erupted between the YPG and ISIL at the banks of the Euphrates River, near Sarrin, which resulted in casualties on both sides.[48]

On 30 July, an ISIL sleeper in Sarrin, as well as some ISIL fighters from the village of Serekaniye, in the northeastern Aleppo Province, managed to infiltrate the eastern part of Sarrin, dressed up as civilians. The ISIL militants launched a suicide attack and a gun battle. The attack was eventually repelled by Euphrates Volcano forces, and resulted in the deaths of 9 ISIL militants and 13 YPG fighters.[9][49]

On the night of 4 August, YPG-led fighters conducted an operation near the village of Milha, to the south of Sarrin, eliminating a number of ISIL fighters.[9][50]

On the night of 7 August, ISIL fighters on the western bank of the Euphrates River targeted Kurdish positions on the hilltops west of Sarrin with mortar fire. YPG-led forces responded by opening fire on ISIL positions across the river.[51]

Strategic analysis

Sarrin has been deemed as strategically important, because the town was the last stronghold that ISIL controlled in the countryside of Kobanî,[24] and because ISIL had used Sarrin as a launchpad to attack Kobanî and other villages in the region.[2][23] After the capture of Sarrin and the surrounding region, it was expected that ISIL attacks against villages in the Kobanî Canton would be curbed significantly.[23] The capture of Sarrin was also deemed to be a major defeat for ISIL,[23] with the town's capture severing ISIL's main access route to parts of the Aleppo Governorate.[1]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "Kurds cut key IS supply route in northern Syria: monitor". July 27, 2015. Retrieved July 27, 2015. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 "Syrian Kurds capture town from ISIS in north: activists". Retrieved 27 July 2015. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "Sylezjusz on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 27 July 2015. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 "CC news". Twitter. Retrieved 28 July 2015. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 "Statement by Burkan Al-Firat Joint Operations Room Leadership (July 28, 2015)". Retrieved 30 July 2015. 
  6. Paula Astih (November 7, 2014). "Kurdish PYD leaders says Peshmerga "effective" in Kobani fight". Asharq al-Awsat. 
  7. Alessandria Masi (11 November 2014). "If ISIS Leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi Is Killed, Who Is Caliph Of The Islamic State Group?". International Business Times. Retrieved 28 April 2015. 
  8. ISIL Attempts Breakout Operation from Grain Silos Complex. Cross River Fire
  9. 9.00 9.01 9.02 9.03 9.04 9.05 9.06 9.07 9.08 9.09 9.10 9.11 9.12 9.13 9.14 9.15 9.16 9.17 "SYRIA and IRAQ NEWS". Peter Clifford Online. Retrieved 9 March 2015. 
  10. "The Dawn of Freedom Brigades: Analysis and Interview". Syria Comment. 2 October 2014. Retrieved 6 October 2014. 
  11. "FSA fighting alongside Kobani Kurds". NOW. 9 October 2014. Retrieved 9 October 2014. 
  12. "The Factions of Kobani (Ayn al-Arab)". Syria Comment. 21 November 2014. Retrieved 25 November 2014. 
  13. "Thomas van Linge on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 28 July 2015. 
  14. Barnes, Julian E. (February 18, 2015). "B-1 Pilots Describe Bombing Campaign Against ISIS in Kobani". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved February 18, 2015. 
  15. 15.0 15.1 "Estimates of Daesh fighters in Sarrin, Khirbat al Burj, and Grain Silos.". Twitter. Retrieved 10 July 2015. 
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 Daesh Reinforcements Have Arrived At Sarrin. Kurds Continue To Hold.
  17. "25 YPG fighters killed and wounded in the attack on Serrin town". Retrieved 30 July 2015. 
  18. 18.0 18.1 "July 1: Major Military Campaign Launched Against Daesh (ISIS) Terrorists in Southern Kobani". Retrieved 10 July 2015. 
  19. 19.0 19.1 Sarrin Urban Area Now Surrounded By Joint Forces. Daesh Line of Retreat Cut.
  20. 20.0 20.1 ISIL Advances Out Of Sarrin, Khirbat al-Burj Relieved. Mitras Taken, and M4 Highway Cut
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 "Joint Forces Reported To Have Made Major Breakthrough South Of Sarrin At Malhah". Twitter. Retrieved 25 July 2015. 
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 22.3 "Joint Forces Have Entered Sarrin, IS Forces Hit By Numerous Airstrikes In Urban Areas.". Twitter. Retrieved 27 July 2015. 
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 23.3 "July 27: Sarrin Town Completely Secured of the Daesh (ISIL) Terrorist Group". Retrieved 28 July 2015. 
  24. 24.0 24.1 "Kurdish forces storm last stronghold of ISIS in Kobane's countryside — ARA News". ARA News. Retrieved 30 March 2015. 
  25. 25.0 25.1 YPG/FSA Joint Forces Have Breached ISIL Defensive Line North of Sarrin, Combat in City
  26. Battle of Sarrin: 26 April 2015
  27. Kobani Canton conflict map: 25 May 2015
  28. Kobani Canton conflict map: 31 May 2015
  29. Kobani Canton conflict map: 5 June 2015
  30. "Sarrin: YPG/J and FSA forces launch new offensive against IS". Imgur. Retrieved 10 July 2015. 
  31. ISIL Driven From Key Hill Tops And Villages Near Sarrin. Offensive Begins.
  32. "The rebel battalions advance and break the first fortification towards the regime- held areas in the city of Aleppo". Syrian Observatory For Human Rights. Retrieved 10 July 2015. 
  33. "ISIL Attack On Qat al Hadid IS Repulsed. Joint Forces Continue To Pressure Sarrin.". Twitter. Retrieved 25 July 2015. 
  34. "Joint Forces Retake Qal at Hadid & Mitras. Daesh Continues Cross River Reinforcements.". Twitter. Retrieved 25 July 2015. 
  35. "Joint Forces Hold Positions Around Sarrin. Daesh Cross River Reinforcements Continue.". Twitter. Retrieved 25 July 2015. 
  36. 36.0 36.1 "Coalition Airstrikes Destroys Daesh Convoy Near Qara Qwazak, Crushing IS Offensive.". Twitter. Retrieved 25 July 2015. 
  37. "Coalition Airstrikes Continue To Pummel IS Emplacements In Sarrin & Khirbat al-Burj". Twitter. Retrieved 25 July 2015. 
  38. "July 24: Daesh (ISIL) Terrorists Totally Surrounded in the Town of Sarrin". Retrieved 27 July 2015. 
  39. "sylezjusz". Twitter. Retrieved 27 July 2015. 
  40. "Conflict News". Twitter. Retrieved 27 July 2015. 
  41. 41.0 41.1 "shams shahin". Twitter. Retrieved 27 July 2015.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "grain silos bombed2" defined multiple times with different content
  42. 42.0 42.1 "Lucio Cienfuegos". Twitter. Retrieved 27 July 2015. 
  43. "Jack Shahine". Twitter. Retrieved 26 July 2015. 
  44. "Abdel Rahman". Twitter. Retrieved 26 July 2015. 
  45. "sylezjusz". Twitter. Retrieved 26 July 2015. 
  46. "July 26: Intensifying Operations on ISIL Terrorists in Hasakah and Along the Euphrates". Retrieved 27 July 2015. 
  47. Master. "People accuse YPG and its allied rebel factions of arresting 150 men and keeping their families under "house arrest" in Serrin". Syrian Observatory For Human Rights. Retrieved 30 July 2015. 
  48. Master. "Clashes erupt between YPG and IS on the Euphrates banks". Syrian Observatory For Human Rights. Retrieved 2 August 2015. 
  49. "July 31: Second Round of Attacks on Town Sarrin Thwarted, Ongoing Operations vs. ISIL in Hasakah". Retrieved 2 August 2015. 
  50. "Aug 5: Combined Defense Units Emerge Strong Operations Around Hasakah and Sarrin, Post Liberation". 
  51. "Aug 8: Multiple Terrorist Attacks Repelled By the Combined Defense Units in Tal Hamis, Sarrin and Afrin: Rojava Aug 7". 

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