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Tuesday, October 21, 2014, Kartik 6, 1421, Zilhajj 25, 1435 Hijr

Fresh fighting in key Syrian town
Observer Online Desk
Publish Date : 2014-10-21,  Publish Time : 10:13,  View Count : 14
Fierce fighting has erupted in the north of the Syrian town of Kobane, after two days of relative calm.

Kurdish defenders were thought to have pushed back Islamic State (IS) militants trying to take over the town, including from this area.

US-led forces carried out six air strikes around Kobane on Sunday and Monday, the US military said.

Kobane, on the Turkish border, is a key objective for IS, and the fighting has forced most civilians to leave.

The new fighting came as Turkey said it would allow Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga fighters to cross into Syria to fight IS.

The BBC's Kasra Naji on the Turkish border says the decision is a major boost for the defenders' morale, and soon for their fighting capability.

Officials in the Iraqi Kurdish region said they were ready to send forces but had so far received no orders.

Turkey, faced with a long insurgency by its own Kurds, has until now barred access for Kurdish fighters to Syria, but correspondents say Ankara is more sympathetic to Kurds in Iraq.

A senior Kurdish official responsible for defence in Kobane, Ismet Hesen, told the BBC that his forces already had the initiative against IS and they needed heavy weapons rather than extra manpower.

Only hours before Mr Cavusoglu's comments, the US military said it had carried out air drops of weapons, ammunition and medical supplies to the Syrian Kurdish fighters around Kobane.
Relative calm

Fierce fighting broke out in the northernmost part of Kobane as night fell on Monday.

It began with huge explosions, which were followed by intense small arms fire and finally with coalition aircraft firing at the area.

This followed almost two days of relative calm with only occasional skirmishes and one air strike, leading many to believe IS militants had been forced back to a few spots on the fringes of the city.

Earlier US Central Command confirmed six air strikes by the US-led coalition near Kobane over Sunday and Monday, as well as six in Iraq near Falluja and Baiji involving French and UK aircraft.

One of the strikes destroyed a bundle of supplies which had gone astray during the air drop to prevent it from falling into enemy hands. All the remaining 26 bundles are reported to have been delivered safely.

The rapid advance of IS in both Syria and Iraq, where it controls large chunks of territory, has rattled the West prompting the air strikes.

And on Monday UN human rights chief Ivan Simonovic put the spotlight on its treatment of minorities, saying its actions may amount to war crimes.

Its atrocities against the Yazidi people in particular amounted to attempted genocide, he said.

The IS advance in Syria takes place against the backdrop of the civil war. US-led air strikes are being conducted there without the permission of President Bashar al-Assad, who the West wants to relinquish power.

In Iraq, the air campaign is taking place with the co-operation of the government. The advance of IS there earlier this year has taken it to close to the capital, Baghdad.


Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
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