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Activists: Kurdish fighters advance on IS-held town in northeastern Syria

  • Iraqis hold a protest a day after Islamic State militants posted an online video showing them smashing rare ancient artifacts in a museum, in Baghdad, Iraq, Friday, Feb. 27, 2015. The protesters held a banner denouncing the destruction of the artifacts and call upon the Iraqi government to protect archeological sites in the country. (AP Photo/Karim Kadim)

    Iraqis hold a protest a day after Islamic State militants posted an online video showing them smashing rare ancient artifacts in a museum, in Baghdad, Iraq, Friday, Feb. 27, 2015. The protesters held a banner denouncing the destruction of the artifacts and call upon the Iraqi government to protect archeological sites in the country. (AP Photo/Karim Kadim)  (The Associated Press)

  • Iraqi artists held an exhibition on antiquities a day after Islamic State militants posted an online video showing them smashing rare ancient artifacts in a museum, in Baghdad, Iraq, Friday, Feb. 27, 2015. (AP Photo/Karim Kadim)

    Iraqi artists held an exhibition on antiquities a day after Islamic State militants posted an online video showing them smashing rare ancient artifacts in a museum, in Baghdad, Iraq, Friday, Feb. 27, 2015. (AP Photo/Karim Kadim)  (The Associated Press)

  • Irina Bokova, Director General of the U.N.'s culture agency UNESCO, speaks during a press conference in Paris, France, Friday, Feb. 27, 2015. Bokova asked for an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council to be convened "on the protection of Iraq's cultural heritage as an integral element for the country's security" after extremists released a video thought to show men using sledgehammers to smash ancient Mesopotamian statues and other artifacts in Iraq's northern city of Mosul.(AP Photo/Jacques Brinon)

    Irina Bokova, Director General of the U.N.'s culture agency UNESCO, speaks during a press conference in Paris, France, Friday, Feb. 27, 2015. Bokova asked for an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council to be convened "on the protection of Iraq's cultural heritage as an integral element for the country's security" after extremists released a video thought to show men using sledgehammers to smash ancient Mesopotamian statues and other artifacts in Iraq's northern city of Mosul.(AP Photo/Jacques Brinon)  (The Associated Press)

Syrian activists and Kurdish representatives say Kurdish fighters have captured dozens of villages following days of clashes with the Islamic State group in northeastern Syria.

The Kurdish fighters, known as the People's Protection Units or YPG, have been making territorial gains since capturing the Syrian border town of Kobani last month following a several-month struggle.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says Kurdish fighters, supported by Arab militias and air strikes from the U.S.-backed coalition, captured on Friday the eastern and southeastern approaches to the town of Tel Hamees in Hassakeh province.

Nawaf Khalil, a YPG spokesman, says Kurdish forces have actually entered the IS-held town.

The Observatory says ground battles and air strikes around Tel Hamees have killed at least 175 IS fighters in the past several days.