Islamic State advances on Kurdish town in Syria after US-led strikes

2014-09-24 14:48

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

Turkey/Beirut – The Islamic State has reinforced fighters who are battling Kurdish forces for control of a Syrian town at the border with Turkey, a redeployment triggered by United States-led air strikes on the group elsewhere, a Kurdish military official said.

Ocalan Iso, deputy leader of the Kurdish forces defending the town of Kobani at the Turkish border, said more Islamic State fighters and tanks had arrived since the US-led coalition began air strikes on the group yesterday.

“The number of their fighters has increased; the number of their tanks has increased since the bombardment of Raqqa,” Iso said.

He repeated calls for the US-led coalition to expand its air strikes to Islamic State positions near Kobani, which is also known as Ayn al-Arab.

“Kobani is in danger,” he said.

The air strikes on the Islamic State in Syria have so far targeted the provinces of Raqqa, Deir al-Zor and Hasakah. The Islamic State launched a major offensive against Kobani last week, forcing nearly 140 000 Syrian Kurds to flee across the border into Turkey within days – the largest and fastest exodus of civilians since the Syrian conflict began in 2011.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which tracks violence in the Syrian conflict, earlier reported air strikes on Islamic State positions to the west of Kobani by warplanes that appeared to cross from Turkey.

But Kurdish officials in Kobani could not confirm the report, and Turkey said neither its air space nor a US air base in the southern Turkish town of Incirlik had been used in the air strikes.

A group of several dozen Syrian Kurds who had fled the fighting watched from a hillside on the Turkish side of the border as Kurdish fighters battled Islamic State militants in a cluster of villages called Siftek. The sound of sporadic artillery and gunfire echoed around the hills.

The Kurds appeared to be firing mortars from the back of a truck into a village where the Islamic State had taken up positions.

“Because of the bombing in Raqqa, the Islamic State has taken all of their weapons and brought them here. There are more and more Islamic State fighters in the last two days, they have brought all their forces here,” said Ahmed Hassan (60) a Syrian Kurd who fled to Turkey with his family.

“They have heavy weapons. We are running away from them. YPG [the people’s protection unit] haven’t got heavy weapons. That’s why we need help,” he said, referring to the main Kurdish armed group.

Idris Nassan, deputy minister for foreign affairs in a Kurdish administration controlling the Kobani area, said the Islamic State remained around 15km from the town in the east and west but had advanced in the south to within 10km after heavy clashes with Kurdish forces.

“Now I hear the noise of mortars in the south,” he said. “The Islamic State gathered heavy forces there. So did the YPG but the Islamic State pushed them back.”

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. 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
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
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.