Battle of Kobane Rages as Iraqi Peshmerga Arrived

Sat Nov 1, 2014 18:56:51

Fighting raged in the Syrian border town of Kobane on Saturday after terrorists launched a new assault on Kurdish militia bolstered by the arrival of heavily armed Iraqi peshmerga forces.

The roughly 150 Iraqi fighters, many of them chanting "Kobane", received a hero's welcome as they crossed the border from Turkey late Friday to join fellow Kurds trying to repel the ISIS group.

The town has become a key battleground whose capture would be a major prize for the ISIS, giving them unbroken control of a long stretch of Syria's border with Turkey.

Fierce clashes in and around Kobane have killed about 100 IS fighters in the past three days, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.

Fifteen Kurdish defenders also lost their lives on Friday, according to the Britain-based monitoring group.

It said in total 958 people had been killed since IS launched an assault on Kobane in mid-September -- 576 IS terrorists, 361 Kurdish fighters and 21 civilians.

Kobane's defenders have been pleading for reinforcements and the peshmerga armed with machineguns, heavy artillery and rocket launchers travelled through Turkey to Syria from Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region.

They stood atop their pick-ups, waving to onlookers and brandishing their rifles in the air as they crossed the frontier into Kobane. Turkish police lined the road holding anti-riot shields.

The peshmerga are expected to take part in the military action in Kobani in the next few hours, Kurdish officials said. "What was lacking is the weapons and ammunition, so the arrival of more of it plus the fighters will help tip the balance of the battle," Idris Nassan, deputy foreign minister of Kobani district, told Reuters by telephone from Kobani.

Kurdish officials in the town of Kobani said that the peshmerga were not involved in fighting which took place on Friday night but they were getting ready to participate in battles on Saturday. "Right now the peshmerga are making preparations".

They are taking up their positions, preparing their guns and are ready for combat. They will be fighting today at the front," said Enver Muslim, the top Kurdish administrative official in the Kobani district, told Reuters by telephone from the town. "Everyone here, civilians, the YPG (the main Syrian Kurdish armed group defending the town), we are all in very good spirits after their arrival."

Ankara also allowed dozens of lightly armed Syrian so-called “Free Syrian Army” rebels (opposition of Syrian government) to cross into Kobane this week.

Intense fighting erupted late Friday in the town and continued during the night as Kurdish fighters fended off a new IS attack in the north of the city, the Observatory said.

Gunfire and explosions were heard on Saturday morning although the peshmerga forces were not thought to have yet joined the fighting, it said.

U.S. fighter and bomber planes have launched five attacks against ISIS militants near Kobani, Syria and five in Iraq since Friday, Central Command said on Saturday. The Kobani strikes "suppressed or destroyed" 9 ISIS fighting positions and a building, Centcom said. In Iraq, five air strikes destroyed an ISIS vehicle southwest of Mosul Dam and hit four vehicles and four buildings used by militants near Al Qaim, it said in a statement

Turkish PM lashes out

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan took aim at Western leaders for focusing too much on the battle for Kobane."Why are coalition forces continually bombing this town of Kobane?"

"We talk about nothing other than Kobane which is on the Turkish border and where there is no one left any more except 2,000 people fighting," he said.

Despite having limited strategic significance, Kobani has become a powerful international symbol in the battle against the hardline Sunni Muslim insurgents who have captured lands in Iraq and Syria and declared an “Islamic caliphate”.

Ankara's decision to allow the peshmerga and opposition rebels to cross its border into Syria has sparked condemnation from Damascus, which denounced it as a "flagrant violation of Syrian “sovereignty”.

string(1037) "[{"id":"1642962","sort":"3275636","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2014/10/23/alalam_635496950705677049_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"ISIS Intensified Attacks on Kobane + Video"} ,{"id":"1643124","sort":"3275637","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2014/10/24/alalam_635497597636373948_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"ISIS Target Iraqi Forces by Chemical Bomb"} ,{"id":"1643393","sort":"3275638","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2014/10/25/alalam_635498456911389865_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Kurds Regain Key Hill in Kobane from ISIS"} ,{"id":"1644352","sort":"3275639","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2014/10/28/alalam_635501178672246173_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"ISIS Hostage Appeared in Propaganda Video in Kobane"} ,{"id":"1645033","sort":"3275640","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2014/10/31/alalam_635503575458727418_25f_4x3.mp4","title":"ISIS Executed 220 Iraqi Tribesmen in Anbar + Video"} ,{"id":"1645338","sort":"3275641","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2014/11/01/alalam_635504588295161399_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"New Mass Killing in Iraq, ISIS kill 85 other in Anbar + video"} ]"