Saturday, October 11, 2014

Syria: Crisis in Kobane: What If the City Falls to IS? A Certain Massacre!

According to AFPIslamic State (IS) jihadists captured the headquarters on Friday (October 10) of Kurdish fighters defending the Syrian border town of Kobane, with a UN envoy warning that thousands would likely be massacred if Kobane falls to the militants.

US-led warplanes have intensified air strikes against IS, which has been attacking Kobane for three weeks, yet the Pentagon has warned that, without a ground force to work with, there are limits to what can be done.

Outgunned Kurdish militia were struggling to prevent the jihadists closing off the last escape route for civilians still in the area, prompting an appeal for urgent military assistance.

Neighboring Turkey has so far failed to life a hand to help as jihadists converge on their doorstep, despite four straight nights of protests among its own large Kurdish minority that have left 31 people dead.

The jihadists' advance has brought the front line to just 1.3 kilometres (little more than three-quarters of a mile) from the border.

IS now controls 40% of Kobane, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

"The capture of the headquarters will allow the jihadists to advance on the border post with Turkey to the north of the town," its director Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP. "If they achieve that, they will have the Kurdish forces inside Kobane completely surrounded."

As fighting raged, an IS militant carried out a suicide car-bomb attack to the west of the Kurdish headquarters that killed two defenders; ten Kurds were killed in an IS ambush on the south side of town, the Observatory said.

COMMENT: An AFP correspondent on the Turkish side of the border saw a cloud of white smoke rising above Kobane after coalition strikes Friday.

Some 700 elderly people will very likely be massacred if IS takes Kobane.

Kobane activist Mustafa Ebdi said IS militants were using civilian cars with Kurdish flags to avoid coming under attack by coalition aircraft. He said the risk of Kobane falling was high, and described the town as a "symbol of resistance to IS in Syria."

"Every Kurdish fighter is willing to die," he said.

Ankara has been deeply reluctant to allow weapons or Kurdish fighters to cross the border. Salih Muslim, leader of the main Kurdish political party in Syria, the Democratic Union Party, told AFP the Kurds are not a threat to Turkey and called for urgent help.

More than 190,000 people have been killed in Syria since an uprising against President Bashar al-Assad's regime began in 2011, escalating into a multi-sided civil war that has drawn thousands of jihadists from overseas.



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