Kurdish YPG fighters (file)
Kurdish YPG fighters (file) Reuters

Kurdish fighters in the embattled city of Kobane, along the Syrian-Turkish border, say they have succeeded in pushing out Islamic State forces from most of the city.

Intensified US airstrikes are said to have played a decisive role in enabling Kurds to mount a counterattack after holding out against the odds for over a month against numerically-superior and better armed ISIS terrorists.

A spokesman for the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) militia told the BBC that YPG forces were currently conducting "mopping up" operations against the Islamists.

"Maybe in the few past days [Islamic State] was controlling about 40% of the city of Kobane, but now... less than 20% of the city is under control of [ISIS]," Idriss Nassan said.

Kurdish commanders have expressed their hope that the entire city will be liberated soon. The fight is far from over, however; ISIS still controls the areas around Kobane, and is reportedly calling in reinforcements.

'Hundreds' of ISIS terrorists killed

Meanwhile, the US military claimed that "hundreds" of Islamic State fighters had been killed in recent airstrikes. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said that poor weather conditions in Iraq - where a US-led air campaign is also targeting ISIS - had freed up resources to focus on Kobane, enabling some 50 airstrikes in the past 48 hours alone.

He cautioned that the situation on the ground was still fluid, but that US air power would help deal with possible ISIS reinforcements.

"The more they want it, the more resources they apply to it, the more targets we have to hit," Kirby said: "We know we've killed several hundred of them."

Activists on the ground say that anything from several hundred to two thousand civilians remain in the besieged city of Kobane, and Kurdish officials have warned of a massacre should ISIS succeed in taking it.