Smoke rises over Kobane under intensified ISIL fire
ŞANLIURFA – Doğan News Agency
AA photoThe jihadist Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) has reportedly advanced to the outskirts of Kobane, a key Kurdish town located near Turkey’s border with Syria, amid reports of black smoke rising from the city center.
Kurdish forces, led by the People’s Defense Forces (YPG), have been defending the town largely abandoned by civilians from militants for more than two weeks.
ISIL militants have gained ground on the outer neighborhoods of the town, as YPG members have moved to the town center and prepared for street combat, Doğan News Agency reported Oct. 3.
Democratic Union Party (PYD) co-chair Asya Abdullah said Oct. 2 that the YPG defenders would turn Kobane into “hell” if ISIL succeeded in entering the city. Other Kurdish sources have also promised that the battle for Kobane would be akin to the World War II battle for Stalingrad.
International agencies have reported several ISIL advances and YPG retreats since the start of the clashes for control of the town.
ISIL bombing intensified late at night Oct. 2, and attacks continued with mortar and cannonball fires in the morning of Oct. 3. Smoke rising above the town could be seen from the Turkish side of the border.
Doğan also reported that the small numbers of Kurdish civilians who remain in Kobane have prepared for a possible evacuation to Turkey.
According to Turkish officials, some 150,000 Kurds have already fled to Turkey due to the fighting in Kobane, but the main opposition party has said the number is higher than the actual figure.
In a televised interview Oct. 2 following parliamentary approval on Syria-Iraq military actions, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutloğlu stressed Turkey preferred Kobane to remain Kurdish.
“We wouldn’t want Kobane to fall. We’ll do whatever we can to prevent this from happening,” he said.
Kurdish groups, however, have long accused Ankara of tacitly if not overtly supporting ISIL, alleging that the Turkish government has given the jihadists ammunition. Turkish police and the military have also prevented Kurds and others in Turkey from congregating at the border with Kobane to offer support for the beseiged defenders.