By Sylvia Westall and Ayla Jean Yackley BEIRUT/ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Kurdish forces took control of the Syrian town of Kobani on Monday after driving out Islamic State fighters, a monitoring group said, although Washington said the four-month battle was not yet over. Some Islamic State supporters took to Twitter to say the fight for Kobani, a focal point of the international struggle against the ultra-hardline Islamist group, was still raging. Islamist militants launched an assault on the predominantly Kurdish town last year, using heavy weapons seized in Iraq and forcing tens of thousands of locals into exile. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) had retaken the town, close to the Turkish border, but were proceeding carefully in the eastern outskirts where Islamic State had planted mines before fleeing.
The Pentagon on Monday declined to declare the battle for the Syrian town Kobani over or declare that Islamic State forces had been entirely pushed out after a four-month battle that became a focal point in the international fight against the group. U.S. and coalition forces launched 17 air strikes near Kobani since Sunday, the military said earlier. The Pentagon last Friday said about 70 percent of the city was in control of Kurdish forces.