Kobane, Syria (BBN)-Islamic State fighters have attacked the Syrian city of Kobane, months after being driven out in a symbolic battle that made international headlines.
Two car bombs and clashes with Kurdish defenders left up to 30 people dead and scores injured. IS shot dead 20 others in a village nearby, activists say, reports BBC.
IS has recently suffered a string of defeats to Kurdish forces.
But in another attack on Thursday, it seized parts of the key north-eastern city of Hassakeh.
The militants have tried to capture Hassakeh, about 270km (180 miles) east of Kobane, for months.
Hassakeh is the largest city in north-eastern Syria. An estimated 500,000 people live there, in addition to thousands who have fled violence elsewhere.
The apparent two-pronged IS offensive came as Kurdish fighters from the Popular Protection Units (YPG) cut a major supply line for IS near Raqqa.
KOBANE: KEY FACTS:
Kobane, known in Arabic as Ayn al-Arab, and the villages surrounding it were home to about 400,000 people, most of them Kurds
IS launched a major offensive in September 2014, prompting more than 100,000 people to flee to Turkey
Kurdish forces re-took it in January 2015
Raqqa is the de facto capital of the caliphate whose creation IS announced a year ago after it captured large swathes of northern and western Iraq.
The IS attack on Kobane began with militants detonating a car bomb – followed by an assault from dozens of IS fighters from a number of directions.
Some may have hidden themselves among returning refugees – there are also reports that they disguised themselves by wearing Kurdish milita uniforms, says the BBC’s Middle East correspondent Quentin Sommerville.
A reporter with Kurdish news agency Rudaw reports from inside Kobane that he had seen “a wounded woman whose entire family were killed inside their home after IS gunmen entered their house”.
Hours later another car bomb exploded in the city.
Between 30,000 and 35,000 people from a population of about 400,000 have returned to Kobane following the IS defeat in January.
More than 200,000 Syrians have lost their lives in four years of armed conflict – more than 11 million others have been forced from their homes.