Kurds thwart Islamic State IS in Syria's Kobani town
As seen from Mursitpinar in the outskirts of Suruc, at the Turkey-Syria border, a Turkish forces armoured vehicle patrols the border road as in the background thick smoke rises following an airstrike by the US-led coalition in the Kurdish town of Kobani in Syrian Kurdistan as fighting intensified between Syrian Kurds and the militants of Islamic State group, Sunday, Oct. 12, 2014. Photo: AP • See Related Articles
MURSITPINAR, Turkey's Kurdish region,— Islamic State jihadists met dogged Kurdish resistance in the high-profile Syrian battleground Kurdish town of Kobani in Syrian Kurdistan Sunday.
In Kobani, where IS is battling Kurdish fighters under the gaze of the international media massed just across the border with Turkey, the jihadists were taking heavy losses, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
On Saturday alone, the jihadists lost at least 36 fighters in the battle with Kurdish militiamen for the Kurdish town, said the Britain-based monitoring group, which has a wide network of sources inside Syria.
IS has earned worldwide infamy for a spate of atrocities -- many of them videotaped and paraded on the Internet -- since it seized swathes of Iraq and Syria in lightning offensives earlier this year.
"It's a decisive battle for them," Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.
"If they don't pull it off, it will damage their image among jihadists around the world."
Abdel Rahman said IS was pouring in reinforcements from other areas it controls in Syria, after its Friday capture of the Kurdish command headquarterswww.Ekurd.net in Kobani failed to deliver a decisive blow.
"They are sending fighters without much combat experience," he said.
"They are attacking on multiple fronts but they keep being repulsed, then countering and being pushed back again."
The United Nations warned on Friday that hundreds of mainly elderly civilians remain in the town centre and thousands more on the outskirts who all risk massacre if the jihadists cut the sole escape route to the Turkish border.
The Kurdish fighters in Kobani -- who have links with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) over the border in Turkey, which is on Washington's terror blacklist -- say they have had no coordination with US commanders.
Bigger than one town
State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf said Washington was deeply concerned about the humanitarian risks of Kobani's fall but said it would keep to its overall strategy against IS, which prioritises the campaign in neighbouring Iraq.
"We know there's the threat of serious casualties -- that's why we're taking strikes in the Kobani area against (IS) targets," Harf told AFP.
"What (IS) is doing in Kobani shows just how brutal these terrorists are. But the fight against (IS) is a much larger strategic effort than in any one town."
That strategy has seen Washington and its coalition partners carry out hundreds of air strikes in Iraq in support of its allies on the ground -- Kurdish forces in the north and embattled federal government troops further south.
Pro-government forces have come under particularly heavy pressure around the key oil refinery at Baiji, south of the Iraq's second city of Mosul, which the jihadists seized in June.
With the surrounding territory all in IS hands, the coalition airdropped ammunition, food and water to its besieged defenders on Friday and Saturday in the first such resupply operation to Iraqi forces, the Pentagon said.
2 big explosions in Kobanê
ANF - SURUÇ 12.10.2014 11:30:11
2 big explosion have been reported this morning in Kobanê under the attack of ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham) gangs. It is said that the explosions occurred after aircraft from the coalition hit 2 points.
The coalition aircraft hit 2 positions where the ISIS gangs have been deployed at around 8.30 this morning. Today’s bombardment caused the biggest explosion yet seen in Kobanê. Thick smoke rose from the area after the explosions.
Sources in Kobanê confirmed that the explosions occurred after the air strikes.
22 gang members killed in Serêkaniyê
ANF - SERÊKANİYE 12.10.2014 13:15:13
An offensive launched by the YPG (People's Protection Units) forces in Serêkaniye region of West Kurdistan, Rojava, has left 22 gang members dead, including an emir (leader).
According to the information obtained from YPG sources, the offensive targeted the ISIS gangs deployed between the villages of Al Dehma and Al Rawiya to the southwest of Serêkaniyê yesterday evening.
A leader, identified as Ebu Cemal, and 21 members of the gangs were killed in clashes that erupted after the YPG offensive lasted till late night.
The YPG operation in the region is reported to be continuing.