ISIL has 'impaled' itself on Kobane: Top US envoy
ANKARA – Agence France-Presse
Smoke rises after the shelling of the city of Kobane as it seen from the Turkish border village of Mürşitpınar. AFP PhotoIslamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has "impaled itself" on Kobane by pouring fighters into the strategic Syrian town so they can be bombed by the US-led coalition, a senior US envoy said Nov. 20.
Retired General John Allen, coordinator of the coalition against ISIL in Iraq and Syria, told Turkey's Milliyet newspaper an estimated 600 ISIL fighters had already been killed in air strikes and the group would ultimately be defeated in the battle for the town.
"ISIL has in so many ways impaled itself on Kobane," said Allen.
He said that IS had sought to make a symbol out of Kobane by defeating the Kurdish forces seeking to retain control of the town.
ISIL continues to "pour fighters" into Kobane who can then be bombed by coalition war planes, he said, estimating air raids had killed some 600 jihadists and created "real problems" for them.
"Any time you mass to achieve the affect that they are trying to achieve with respect to Kobane, you create targets," he commented.
He said ISIL's ultimate retreat from Kobane would indicate that it has not been able to achieve its objectives.
"I think, the sense is, if they pull out, this is going to be a real indicator that the 'march to victory' of ISIL has finally hit its high water mark."
He said it was time to reverse the notion that ISIL was invincible. "And, in truth, what we are learning is that they are very defeatable."
Allen met with senior Turkish officials in Ankara on Wednesday for discussions aimed at countering the threat posed by ISIL fighters, who have captured large swathes of Iraq and Syria right up to the Turkish border.
Turkey's refusal to play a bigger role in the US-led coalition to defeat jihadists has caused strain in ties between the two NATO allies.
Ankara has called for a comprehensive strategy to remove Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from power, and the formation of a security zone along its volatile border.
"We absolutely must consider Turkey's national interests and special considerations. It is very clear that Turkey is a frontline state," Allen said.
Allen, who hailed the US relationship with Turkey a "long-term friendship, an old alliance", said he was in talks with Turkey over how to deal with its demands.