Over 400 die in Kurdish-IS battles in Syria's Kobane

October 8, 2014 6:48 am 

DAMASCUS, Oct. 8 — Over 400 people, including fighters, have been killed in weeks-long clashes between the Islamic State (IS) terror group and Kurdish militants at the predominantly Kurdish city of Kobane on the Syrian-Turkish borders, the oppositional Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported Tuesday.

The Observatory said it was able to document the death of 412 people, including combatants, over the past 20 days of intense battles between the IS and the Kurdish militants of the People's Protection Unites, or YPG.

The death toll includes at least 219 IS fighter and 163 YPGs, said the Observatory.

The announcement of the death toll comes at a time intense battles were still raging around Kobane amid the advancement of the IS fighters against the outgunned Kurdish militant groups in some parts of the city, mainly the southwestern ones.

The U.S.-led anti-terror coalition has reportedly intensified the strikes against the IS positions around Kobane over the past 24 hours in a bid to aid the battered Kurdish militants, who have managed to defend their city against falling to the IS for over three consecutive weeks.

The coalition's previous strikes had largely failed to stem the momentum of the IS fighters in their crushing offensive against Kobane.

Kurdish activists have repeatedly warned against the grave repercussions of possible city fall to the IS, noting that the IS would commit mass massacres against the civilians there. The IS capture of Kobane would also enable it to control a considerable stretch of territories on the Syrian-Turkish border.

Since they unleashed their attack on Sept. 16, the IS militants have captured over 300 villages around Kobane and pushed over 160, 000 people to flee for their lives toward neighboring Turkey.

Kobane, which is also known as Ayn al-Arab and home to over 400, 000 people, has attracted hundreds of Kurdish fighters to stream through the Iraqi and Turkey borders to aid their fellow Kurds, who have seen one of the most ferocious and relentless shelling by the IS against the heart of the city.

Politicians have warned against an imminent fall of the city in the hands of the IS. On Tuesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the IS were about to take over Kobane, noting that aerial bombardments alone may not be enough to stop them.

Erdogan also renewed his call for supporting the opposition forces, in reference to a possible ground incursion his government had authorized earlier this week.

Even though Erdogan was talking in a supportive rhetoric to the Kurds of Kobani, Kurdish activists have been accusing Turkey of working with the IS to empty the city of its residents so that it could impose a buffer zone on the Syrian side of the border under the pretext of helping the refugees.

Syrian Kurds have reached a deadlock in their fight against the IS militants, who have repeatedly tried to storm Kurdish-dominated Syrian areas. Accounting for some 15 percent of the Syria's 23 million population, a majority of Kurds are now living in the northern part of the embattled country. (PNA/Xinhua)

FPV/JSD

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