ISIL raises flag in eastern Kobane, Kurds say town has not fallen
ISIL flag is placed on a hill in eastern Kobane as seen from the Turkish-Syrian border in the southeastern town of Suruç, on October 6, 2014. AFP PhotoMilitants of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) raised their flag on a building on the eastern outskirts of the Syrian border town of Kobane on Oct. 6 after an assault of almost three weeks, but the town's Kurdish defenders said they had not reached the city centre.
A black flag belonging to ISIL was visible from across the Turkish border atop a four-storey building close to the scene of some of the most intense clashes in recent days.
Another flag was also seen being planted by a man on the crest of a hill on the eastern edge of the town.
Local sources inside Kobane confirmed the group had planted its flag but said that Kurdish forces had repelled their advances so far.
"ISIL have only planted a flag on one building on the eastern side of town," said İsmail Eskin, a journalist in the town. "That is not inside the city, it's on the eastern side. They are not inside the city. Intense clashes are continuing."
The radical al Qaeda offshoot has been battling to seize the predominantly Kurdish town after taking over large swathes of territory in Syria and Iraq in recent months.
Air strikes by American and Gulf state warplanes have failed to halt the advance of the Islamists, who have besieged the town from three sides and pounded it with heavy artillery.
"During the day sometimes ISIL makes advances but YPG pushes them back. There are clashes within the vicinity, but they are not inside the city, YPG is resisting," said Pawer Mohammed Ali, a translator for the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) inside Kobane.
"If they enter Kobane, it will be a graveyard for us and for them. We will not let them enter Kobane as long as we live," Esmat al-Sheikh, head of the Kobani Defence Authority, said by telephone earlier on Monday.
"We either win or die. We will resist to the end," he added as heavy weapons fire echoed from the eastern side of town.
20 jihadists killed
At least 20 jihadists were killed late Oct. 5 after entering an eastern neighbourhood and being ambushed by YPG fighters, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
"The jihadists died in an ambush by the YPG after they entered Street 48 in the east of Kobane overnight," Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman said.
Their assault appeared to be the first time ISIL fighters had entered Kobane since their advance on it began nearly three weeks ago.