Hopes of return muted in devastated Syrian Kurdish town

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By Osman Orsal KOBANI, Syria (Reuters) - Sheets meant to hide residents from snipers' sights still hang over streets in the Syrian border town of Kobani, and its shattered buildings and cratered roads suggest those who fled are unlikely to return soon. Kurdish forces said this week they had taken full control of Kobani, a mainly Kurdish town near the Turkish border, after months of bombardment by Islamic State, an al Qaeda offshoot that has spread across Syria and Iraq. Their victory, raising Kurdish flags where the black symbols of Islamic State once flew, prompted celebration among the more than 200,000 refugees who have fled to Turkey since the assault on the town began in September. "Coming back to Kobani will be even more difficult than leaving it," said one fighter from the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), clutching a machinegun and standing in front of the ruins of a building.