ISIS closes in on Kobani as Turkey warns town’s fall imminent
07 Oct 2014
Jihadists could be on the verge of seizing the key Syrian border town of Kobani, Turkey warned today. The ISIS had launched an assault on the town three days back that had left hundreds dead according to reports, The Daily Star reported.
According to commentators, the fall of the town to the Islamic militia would mark a major victory for the jihadists, who are fighting for a long stretch of the border with Turkey for their self-proclaimed "Islamic caliphate."
At least 412 people, over half of them jihadists, had been killed in and around Kobani since mid-September, Britain-based activist group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
According to Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the strategically important town was "about to fall.'' He added a ground operation was needed to defeat the militants.
"The terror will not be over ... unless we cooperate for a ground operation," Erdogan said in a televised speech.
As the fight for the town entered a crucial phase, Kurdish militia supported by US-led air strikes engaged the jihadists in street battles after they had pierced the town's defences on yesterday.
The Turkish side of the border was rent by the roar of fighter jets, gunfire, and explosions while a Kurdish flag was seen flying in the centre of Kobani, according to an AFP journalist.
The prospect of the fall of the town on the Turkish border has added to pressure on Turkey, which has the strongest army in the region, to join an international coalition to fight against Islamic State, Reuters reported.
The jihadists want to take Kobani in order to strengthen their grip on the border area and consolidate the territorial gains it had made in Iraq and Syria in recent months.
Erdogan said during a visit to a camp for Syrian refugees that the problem of ISIS could not be solved via air bombardment.
He said Turkey had warned the west that three things were need - a no-fly zone, a secure zone parallel to that and the training of moderate Syrian rebels.
He added, Turkey would intervene if there were threats to Turkish soldiers guarding a historic site in Syria that Ankara regarded as its territory. Turkey had however made no move to get involved in the fighting across the border.