Kurds thwart Islamic State in Kobani; Turkey boosts involvement

IS poured in reinforcements and fired at least 11 rocket-propelled grenades into the town centre, said the Britain-based monitoring group.

By: Press Trust of India | Mursitpinar | Updated: October 13, 2014 2:45:26 pm
Turkish soldiers hold their positions with their tanks on a hilltop on the outskirts of Suruc, at the Turkey-Syria border, overlooking Kobani, Syria, during fighting between Syrian Kurds and the militants of Islamic State group, Sunday, Oct. 12, 2014. (Source: AP) Turkish soldiers hold their positions with their tanks on a hilltop on the outskirts of Suruc, at the Turkey-Syria border, overlooking Kobani, Syria, during fighting between Syrian Kurds and the militants of Islamic State group, Sunday, Oct. 12, 2014. (Source: AP)

Attacking Islamic State jihadists met firm Kurdish resistance in the Syrian battleground town of Kobane, as neighbouring Turkey has heeded pressure to intervene and handed the US access to its air bases. In Iraq however, Islamic State (IS) fighters have government forces under strong pressure, and a roadside bomb killed the police chief in Anbar province between Baghdad and the Syrian border.

READ: Kurdish forces urge more air strikes on Kobani as IS tightens grip 

Farther north, around Iraq’s key oil refinery town of Baiji, the army and Sunni Arab tribal allies came under fresh IS attack, prompting a first resupply operation by coalition aircraft. In Kobane, on Syria’s border with Turkey, a pall of black smoke hung over the strategic town as the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported heavy jihadist losses.

IS poured in reinforcements and fired at least 11 rocket-propelled grenades into the town centre, said the Britain-based monitoring group. The Kurds managed to advance 50 metres towards their headquarters, two days after the jihadists captured it, but failed to deliver a knockout blow.

Thick smoke, debris and fire rise following an airstrike by the US-led coalition in Kobani, Syria as fighting intensified between Syrian Kurds and the militants of Islamic State group, as seen from Mursitpinar on the outskirts of Suruc, at the Turkey-Syria border, Sunday, Oct. 12, 2014. (Source: AP) Thick smoke, debris and fire rise following an airstrike by the US-led coalition in Kobani, Syria as fighting intensified between Syrian Kurds and the militants of Islamic State group, as seen from Mursitpinar on the outskirts of Suruc, at the Turkey-Syria border, Sunday, Oct. 12, 2014. (Source: AP)

“They (IS) are sending fighters without much combat experience,” Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman said. Since proclaiming a “caliphate” straddling parts of Iraq and Syria in June, the militants have seized swathes of territory and earned worldwide infamy for atrocities – often videotaped and posted on the Internet.

Turkey, which has so far been reluctant to get involved in the fighting, has faced international pressure to step in to defend Kobane. A senior US defence official said it has now granted the United States access to its air bases for the campaign, including a key installation near the Syrian border. “Details of usage are still being worked out,” the official told AFP.

In this Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014 photo, released by the U.S. Air Force, a pair of U.S. F-15E Strike Eagle flies over northern Iraq, after conducting airstrikes in Syria. U.S.-led coalition warplanes bombed oil installations and other facilities in territory controlled by Islamic State militants in eastern Syria on Friday, Sept. 26, 2014, taking aim for a second consecutive day at a key source of financing that has swelled the extremist group's coffers, activists said. (Source: AP Photo/U.S. Air Force, Matthew Bruch) In this Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014 photo, released by the U.S. Air Force, a pair of U.S. F-15E Strike Eagle flies over northern Iraq, after conducting airstrikes in Syria. U.S.-led coalition warplanes bombed oil installations and other facilities in territory controlled by Islamic State militants in eastern Syria on Friday, Sept. 26, 2014, taking aim for a second consecutive day at a key source of financing that has swelled the extremist group’s coffers, activists said. (Source: AP Photo/U.S. Air Force, Matthew Bruch)

In southern Turkey, US crews have long operated out of Incirlik Air Base and about 1,500 air force personnel are stationed there. US aircraft bombing IS militants are reportedly flying out of air bases in the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Qatar.

FILE - In this April, 1975 file photo, Syria opens its fourth oil field at Jbeissah, 19 miles west of the Iraq Border. Activists say that U.S.-led airstrikes have targeted Syrian oil installations held by the militant Islamic State group, killing at least five people on Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014. (Source: AP) FILE – In this April, 1975 file photo, Syria opens its fourth oil field at Jbeissah, 19 miles west of the Iraq Border. Activists say that U.S.-led airstrikes have targeted Syrian oil installations held by the militant Islamic State group, killing at least five people on Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014. (Source: AP)

In a telephone call with Turkish Defence Minister Ismet Yilmaz, Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel thanked Turkey for its “willingness to contribute to coalition efforts, to include hosting and conducting training for Syrian opposition members,” his spokesman said.

For all the latest World News, download Indian Express App

Share your thoughts
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement