Kobani Commander Warn over Massacre in the Town

Sat Oct 11, 2014 10:15:56

Kurdish defence chief for a strategic Syrian town has warned that hundreds of civilians who remain trapped in the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobani near the border with Turkey were likely to be "massacred" by advancing extremists.

The outgunned Kurdish fighters struggling to defend Kobani got a small boost from a series of US-led airstrikes against the militants that sent huge columns of black smoke into the sky.

Limited coalition strikes have done little to blunt the ISIS group's three-week offensive, and its fighters have relentlessly shelled the town in preparation for a final assault.

Warning that the aerial campaign alone was not enough to halt the terrorists group's advance, Ismet Sheikh Hassan, the Kurdish defence chief for the Kobani region called on the Turkish government to allow a "corridor to evacuate the remaining civilians."

"It has been 26 days that we are resisting, we want the international community and the United Nations to support us," Ismet Sheikh Hassan told an Associated Press journalist by telephone.

Kurdish defence chief for the Kobani region added that in the east and south side of town clashes with ISIS terrorists is going on and stressed that coalition air raids is not enough: “ They hit only couple of houses. Yesterday (Thursday) they (ISIS group) got reinforced from Raqqa, Hasakah and Tal Abyad with tanks, machine guns and artillery.

Ismet Sheikh Hassan said “We are besieged from three sides by the ISIS group and from the north by Turkey, We want a corridor to be opened, to evacuate the (remaining) civilians, if they (ISIS group) enter the city center there will be a massacre. The only way is that to take a breath and get arm supplies, there are airstrikes but they are not that effective. It has been 26 days that we are resisting, we want the international community and the United Nations to support us."

Turkish tanks and other ground forces have been stationed along the border within a few hundred yards of the fighting in Kobani, also known as Ayn Arab, but have not intervened. And while Turkey said just days ago that it wouldn't let Kobani fall, there's no indication the government is prepared to make a major move to save it.

Relations between Turkey and Syria's Kurds have long been strained, in large part because Ankara believes the Kurdish Democratic Union, or PYD _ the leading Syrian Kurdish political party _ is affiliated with the Kurdish PKK movement that has waged a long and bloody insurgency in southeast Turkey.

Since mid-September, the militant onslaught has forced some 200-thousand people to flee Kobani and surrounding villages, and activists say more than 400 people have been killed in the fighting.

Capturing Kobani would give the ISIS group, a direct link between its positions in the Syrian province of Aleppo and its stronghold of Raqqa, to the east. It would also give the group full control of a large stretch of the Turkish-Syrian border.

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