ISIS advance on Syria town halted by Kurds; Turkey to train 4,000 fighters

The strikes, aimed at rolling back the militants’ gains, appear to have done little to blunt their assault on Kobani and nearby villages.

By: Associated Press | Mursitpinar | Published: October 13, 2014 3:04:42 am
A woman mourns at the grave of her son, a Kurdish fighter who was killed in fighting with ISIS militants in Kobani at a cemetery in Suruc, Turkey.  (AP) A woman mourns at the grave of her son, a Kurdish fighter who was killed in fighting with ISIS militants in Kobani at a cemetery in Suruc, Turkey. ( AP)

Kurdish fighters have been able to halt the advance of the Islamic State or ISIS extremist group in the Syrian border town of Kobani, where the US-led coalition has been carrying out airstrikes for more than two weeks, activists said Sunday.

The coalition, which is targeting the militants in and around Kobani, conducted at least two airstrikes Sunday on the town, according to an Associated Press journalist and activists. The US Central Command said warplanes from the United States, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates conducted four airstrikes in Syria on Saturday and Sunday, including three in Kobani that destroyed an ISIS fighting position and staging area.The strikes, aimed at rolling back the militants’ gains, appear to have done little to blunt their assault on Kobani and nearby villages.

The Syrian Kurdish border town is the latest focus of the Islamic State or ISIS group, which has rampaged across northern Syria and western and northern Iraq since the summer, swallowing up large chunks of territory and imposing its reign of terror. Their campaign comes amid the three-year civil war in Syria, where opposition fighters have been battling to overthrow President Bashar Assad.

If Kobani falls, the Islamic State or ISIS group will control territory abutting Turkey to the gates of Baghdad, some 450 miles slicing across Syria and Iraq. The US has been speaking with Turkish officials about increasing their own efforts to equip and train opposition fighters in Syria and US Central Command and European Command will travel to Turkey this week to meet with officials there and discuss the different ways Turkey can contribute.

On Sunday, a Turkish government official confirmed that Turkey has agreed with the US to train 4,000 Syrian opposition fighters. The official said the fighters would be vetted by Turkish intelligence.

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