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Kurdish fighters take Syrian border town and target oil fields

Kurdish militants entered the fray in Syria, deepening the conflict.

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Kurdish opposition fighters attend a ceremony on July 18, 2013, in the northern Syrian border village of al Qamishli. At least 29 people have been killed in fighting between Kurdish and jihadist fighters in northern Syria in the past two days, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. (-/AFP/Getty Images)

Kurdish fighters on Thursday captured the Syrian border town of Ras al-Ain and moved east to oil and gas fields, causing an electric blackout in parts of Syria.

Although fighting in Ras al-Ain has reportedly subsided, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the violence took at least 29 lives. 

The Kurdish rebels proceeded to attack gas and fuel pipelines east of Ras al-Ain, cutting off electricity in several parts of Syria, according to Syria's official news agency SANA.

The attack by the Kurdish-Syrian Democratic Union Party (PYD), a group Turkish authorities describe as a separatist terrorist organization, "rang alarm bells in Ankara," Reuters said. Turkey has been battling a Kurdish militant insurgency for decades. 

The taking of the rebel-held Ras al-Ain reflects the growing complexity of the war in Syria, in which an estimated 100,000 people have been killed in more than two years of fighting between President Bashar al-Assad's regime and an armed rebellion. 

The PYD also reportedly seized the border crossing from Syria into Turkey after defeating fighters from Jabhat al-Nusra, a Syrian rebel group with ties to Al Qaeda, that had been in control of Ras al-Ain.

Power went out in the Syrian provinces of Dara’a, Sweida, Quneitra, Damascus and Rif Dimashq, SANA said, according to Iran's Press TV