Is ISIS really losing ground?

CBS News correspondent Holly Williams traveled to Syria, where a small group of villagers have given up their day jobs in order to fight back against ISIS
CBS News correspondent Holly Williams travele... 03:21

ISIS is not just a terrorist group, it's a military force that's holding about a third of Iraq and Syria. It tries to keep reporters out by beheading them. But CBS News' Holly Williams managed to reach a village where Kurdish civilians are fighting back. Here's her report.

JAZAA, Northern Syria -- Kurdish fighters that we spoke with haven't seen a single airstrike, though ISIS is just four miles away and has flattened the village below with months of shelling. They're farmers, housewives and shopkeepers - volunteers relying on guns bought on the black market.

"If we didn't do it, the whole place will be full of ISIS, and they'll destroy everything," Denis Sipan told me.

Sipan quit her job as an elementary school teacher five months ago to become a sniper on the front line - but they're so under equipped she has to share her gun with another fighter.

"What would it take for you to give up the battle here and retreat?" I asked her.

"I don't think that's going to happen," she told me. "I need to protect myself, my friends, my people, and my country."

The U.S. declared victory over ISIS just west of here in Kobani last week. But it took more than 700 airstrikes and four months of brutal street fighting to drive the militants out.

Now that ISIS has retreated from Kobani the commanders here are worried that the extremists will launch a full scale offensive against this front line.

"If we're killed on the battlefield, don't cry for us," the soldiers sang. "We're fighting for freedom."

Kurdish fighters clap and chant songs of solidarity in their fight against ISIS CBS News

These are determined soldiers, but Ahmad Mohammed - a wheat farmer turned patrol commander - told us they desperately need better guns and airstrikes.

"We want the international community to help defend us against these terrorists," he told us. "Any kind of help would be good."