Syria Kurds Weather IS Assault and Await Reinforcements

Wed Oct 22, 2014 12:21:05

Kurdish defenders of the strategic Syrian border town of Kobane awaited reinforcements Wednesday after weathering another onslaught by ISIS terrorists.

Fighting appeared to have diminished after a fierce attack begun by IS terrorists almost 48 hours earlier, including suicide bombers, witnesses and monitors said.

IS terrorists in east Kobane were exchanging fire with Kurdish militia in the west and there were reports of an explosion, probably a car bomb, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said.

A total of 30 terrorists and 11 Kurdish fighters were killed in 24 hours, the Britain-based Observatory said late Tuesday, adding that IS was bringing in reinforcements "as a result of the daily losses in Kobane".

The town has become a crucial battleground in the war against IS, which is fighting to extend areas under its control in Iraq and Syria where it has declared an "Islamic caliphate".

The lull came as the UN accused the ISIS of "attempted genocide" against Iraq's Yazidi minority and said atrocities committed by terrorists may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Tens of thousands of Yazidis have fled, fearing for their lives after being targeted for their religious beliefs.

Diplomatic moves

Against a backdrop of continued fighting, there has been feverish diplomatic efforts with Turkey announcing Monday that it would help Kurdish forces from Iraq to relieve Kobane's beleaguered defenders, in a major shift of policy that was swiftly welcomed by Washington.

Iraqi Kurdish officials have said they will provide the training, although any forces sent will be Syrian Kurds.

A local Kurdish official, Idris Nassen, told AFP on Tuesday that no reinforcements had yet arrived and they did not have "any idea" when they would.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu confirmed Kurdish fighters had yet to cross from Turkey to Kobane, explaining that "the issue is still being discussed".

Three C-130 cargo aircraft carried out what the US military called successful drops of supplies early on Monday, including arms provided by Kurdish authorities in Iraq.

A US-led coalition has carried out more than 140 air strikes against IS targets around Kobane, but it was the first time it had delivered arms to the town's defenders.

US Central Command said one of the 27 bundles had gone astray but that American warplanes bombed it to prevent it being snatched by IS . But  IS Propaganda video showed at least one cache of airdrops captured by terrorist group.

It also said American warplanes carried out 4 strikes near Kobane on Monday and Tuesday, while coalition aircraft conducted another 3 in Iraq.

Despite the Kobane operation, US commanders said the top priority remains Iraq, where IS swept through much of the Sunni Arab heartland north and west of Baghdad in June, with both government and Kurdish forces under pressure.

Yesterday  the terrorists attacked the Kurdish-controlled town of Qara Tapah on Monday, killing at least 10 people and prompting half of its 9,000 residents to flee.

"We are afraid IS will encircle us and turn this town into a second Amerli," said one resident, referring to a mainly Shiite Turkmen town further north besieged by IS for two months over the summer.

Since last week, Baghdad also seen a rise in the number of bombings, several of which have been claimed by IS.

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