Islamic militants on offensive against Kurds

2014-07-10 18:26
Leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) jihadist group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, aka Caliph Ibrahim, adressing Muslim worshippers at a mosque in the militant-held northern Iraqi city of Mosul. (File, AFP)

Leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) jihadist group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, aka Caliph Ibrahim, adressing Muslim worshippers at a mosque in the militant-held northern Iraqi city of Mosul. (File, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Beirut - Islamic militants using weapons they recently seized in neighbouring Iraq intensified an offensive against Kurdish areas in northern Syria as they fight to expand the territory under their control, activists said.

Members of the Islamic State group and Kurdish fighters have been fighting each other for a year, but the Kurds were usually the instigators until earlier this month when the balance of power appears to have tipped in favour of the Sunni extremists because of the large amounts of weapons they brought from Iraq into Syria.

Islamic State fighters captured several Kurdish villages and killed dozens of fighters in the area this week, according to activists.

The clashes come after the Islamic State group seized territories straddling Syria and neighbouring Iraq and declared a self-styled Islamic caliphate. Most of the land was seized in June during a push across Iraq. They captured large amounts of weapons left behind by Iraqi troops including US-made armoured personnel carriers, Humvees and artillery.

Kurdish official Nawaf Khalil said members of the Islamic State group are trying to capture an area near the Turkish border that would link it with their positions in eastern Syria. He and other activists said the fighting is concentrated in the region of Kobani, also known as Ayn Arab.

Mustafa Osso, a Turkey-based Kurdish activist who has wide contacts in northern Syria, says the aim of the offensive is to take the entire Kobani area. Osso says those standing against the Islamic State group are mostly members of the People's Protection Units, the armed wing of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party.

"We have called for support from Kurds around the world," said Khalil, an official with the party.

On Wednesday, Islamic State group captured three villages near Kobani and pressed forward toward the border town. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 18 Kurdish fighters were killed on Wednesday alone.

Kurds are the largest ethnic minority in Syria, making up more than 10% of the country's prewar population of 23 million. They are centred in the impoverished northeastern province of Hassakeh, wedged between the borders of Turkey and Iraq.

Read more on:    is  |  isil  |  iraq  |  syria

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Meet instagram star, Pumpkin the racoon

With 300 000 followers and growing Pumpkin is winning over the internet!



The cats that cost R35 000
Miley Cyrus can’t get enough of her new puppy
13 guilty pets
Meet SA's top poacher-catcher

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts

Plant some seeds. Your innovative mind is on fire and your ingenious ideas may just be the seeds for future projects. You may more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.