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Saturday, October 18, 2014

US-led coalition jets strike Kobani, ISIS shells hit Turkey

A US Air Force B1-B bomber plane flies above the Syrian town of Kobane, also known as Ain al-Arab, on October 18, 2014 as seen from the Turkish border town of Suruc. (AFP)

US-led coalition jets pounded suspected Islamic State targets at least six times in the besieged Syrian town of Kobani today after the fiercest shelling in days by the insurgents shook the town's centre and hit border areas within Turkey.

Shelling continued after the strikes hit the centre of Kobani. Several mortars fell inside Turkey near the border gate, called Mursitpinar, according to witnesses.

Islamic State militants have battled Kurdish fighters for a month to take control of Kobani and consolidate a 60 mile (95 km) stretch of land they control along the Turkish border, but stepped-up air strikes in recent days have helped Kurds fend off the advance.

Today, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said US-led forces bombing Islamic State in Syria killed 10 civilians in two separate air strikes.

But US Central Command said there was no evidence to back up the report. Its forces use mitigation measures to reduce the potential for civilian casualties, a spokesman said.

Reuters cannot independently confirm the reports due to security restrictions.

In Kobani, a commander for the YPG, the Syrian Kurdish militia defending Kobani, who would only gave her code name Dicle, said Islamic State's renewed attacks were aimed at severing the town's last link with Turkey.

"They want to cut off Kobani's connection with the rest of the world," she told Reuters by telephone. "Turkey is not allowing in fighters or weapons, but they send aid at Mursitpinar. The Islamic State wants to destroy this gate so that we will be completely trapped here."

Turkey has refused to rearm beleaguered Kurdish fighters, who complain they are at huge disadvantage in the face of Islamic State's weaponry, many of it seized from the Iraqi military when it took the city of Mosul in June.

Turkey views the YPG with suspicion for its long-standing links with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has waged a 30-year armed campaign for self-rule in Turkey.

President Tayyip Erdogan said earlier this month the PKK was no better than the Islamic State in his view.

The Syrian Observatory said the Islamic State had launched at least 21 mortar attacks close to the border.

Abdulrahman Gok, a journalist inside Kobani, said by telephone said the fighting was the worst in two days. "In the past hour, the shelling has intensified. They are firing almost one every two minutes," he said, adding that the insurgents were aiming at the east side of town towards the Mursitpinar gate.

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Tags:  World  ISIS  Turkey  Syria  US  





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