Battle Rages at Syrian Border Town as Islamic State Advances

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Turkish soldiers near the border line as smoke rises after a mortar shell landed in the city center of Kobani in Syria on Oct. 3, 2014.
Image: Burhan Ozbilici/Associated Press

Islamic State militants clashed with Kurdish forces attempting to defend the Syrian border town of Kobani from extremists on Friday.

Led by the People’s Defense Forces (YPG), the Kurdish militia has been defending the city for weeks as civilians have fled the area.

Turkish photographer Kazim Kizil, who has been documenting the conflict in Kobani from the nearby Turkish border, posted this footage of smoke rising from the city.

An Associated Press journalist at the Turkish border town of Suruc reported intense shelling of Kobani from the south and west. One tank moved on the edge of Kobani as shells landed on to its west, some 500 yards from the Turkish border.

Tens of thousands of Syrian Kurds have fled across the border into Turkey since the struggle for control of Kobani began. Over 160,000 Syrians have left Kobani, also known as has Ayn al-Arab, seeking refugee in Turkey.

On Thursday, the Turkish parliament approved a measure that would allow cross-border military action against ISIS. The motion, which passed with a three-quarters majority, would also allow foreign coalition forces to launch military operations from Turkish territory.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu told the press that Turkey would do all it could to ensure that Kobani stay out of the control of the militants.

“We wouldn’t want Kobani to fall. We’ll do whatever we can to prevent this from happening,” Davutoğlu said. “No other country has the capacity to affect the developments in Syria and Iraq. No other country will be affected like us either.”

This footage from Oct. 2, posted to a YouTube account that regularly hosts videos from the areas of Syria under ISIS’ control, shows militants advancing on the town.

Ismet Sheikh Hassan, the Kurdish defense minister of Kobani region, said ISIS group fighters were trying to advance from the east, west and southeast of Kobani. He said jihadis fired rockets on the town and called on the U.S.-led coalition “to hit the tanks instead of bases.”

U.S.-led forces have continued to conduct airstrikes on ISIS targets in Syria. According to U.S. Central Command, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates also participated in the Syria strikes, which destroyed several ISIS controlled sites, including two modular oil refineries and a training camp.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press

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