ISIL at gates of Syria border town
ŞANLIURFA - Agence France-Presse
In this photo taken on Oct. 1, ISIL militants are seen near Kobane. AA photoIslamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) fighters were at the gates of a key Kurdish town on the Syrian border with Turkey on Oct. 2 as its parliament prepared to vote on authorising military intervention against the jihadists.
Kurdish militiamen backed by US-led air strikes were locked in fierce fighting to prevent the besieged border town of Kobane from falling to ISIL fighters.
"There are real fears that the ISIL may be able to advance into the town of Kobane itself very soon," the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights warned.
The Britain-based watchdog reported fresh US-led air strikes on the advancing jihadists overnight after the heavily outgunned Kurdish fighters were forced to fall back west and southeast of the town, also known as Ain al-Arab.
The fighting came as deadly bombings hit both the Iraqi capital and Syria's third-largest city Homs, with 41 children among the dead in Homs, which has been devastated by the three-year civil war but is under government control.
The US-led coalition had already carried out at least seven strikes on ISIL targets around Kobane over the five days to Wednesday, US Central Command said.
Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman said there were concerns over "the Kurds' capacity to resist, as the IS are using tanks and other heavy weaponry in their attack."
ISIL seized large stocks of heavy weaponry from fleeing troops when they captured Iraq's second city of Mosul in June. They took more when they overran the Syrian garrison at Tabqa air base south of Kobane in late August.
Kobane would be a major prize for ISIL, giving it unbroken control of a long stretch of the Syrian-Turkish border.