Will the West take ‘last-minute’ action to save Kobane?

Smoke rises after a strike on Kobane as seen from the Turkish-Syrian border. (File photo: AFP)

A leading official from the Syrian town of Kobane, which has been at the center of a militant offensive on the border with Turkey, has predicted that the West will step up action at the “last minute” to prevent the town from falling to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

ISIS launched an offensive to take over Kobane in mid-September where fighting has killed a reported 500 people and forced 200,000 others to flee across the border into Turkey.

U.N. officials have warned of a possible massacre in Kobane, if the militants capture the city which they have been attacking for the past three weeks.

Idris Nassan, deputy “foreign minister” of Kobane, said: “I think the Americans and the European countries will not give up on Kobane because if it falls, democracy and humanitarianism and all the things that are good in this area will fall too,” he told The Daily Telegraph in Suruc, a neighboring Turkish border city where he is exiled.

ISIS forces have already seized several areas of Kobane after subjecting it to bombardment for the last two weeks. Heavy fighting broke out on Monday between ISIS forces and Kurdish fighters close to the Turkish border just north of the besieged Syrian town of Kobane, an Agence France-Presse correspondent reported.

The clashes threatened to cut all access from Kobane to the Turkish border and block the passage which which has so far allowed some 200,000 refugees from the Kobane area to find refuge in Turkey.

Clashes with automatic gunfire and mortar fire were taking place an an area less than one kilometer (half a mile) from the barbed wire fence that marks the border between Syria and Turkey, the correspondent on the Turkish side of the border reported.

Meanwhile, an ISIS suicide bomber detonated a truck laden with explosives in Kobane, a monitoring group and Kurdish sources said on Monday.

The attack took place about 2 km north of Kobane, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and Kurdish officials said.

Kurdish defenders are confronting ISIS, with more than 500 people reported dead in a month of conflict, according to the BBC.

Nassan, who has repeatedly called for the transfer of heavy weapons to the Kurdish militias defending Kobane, reportedly said he had “certain information” that the West was determined not to allow it to fall.

"The supply of fighters is very good..." Nassan told Reuters news agency in reference to the Kurds. "But fighters coming without arms, without weaponry, is not going to make a critical difference."

American airstrikes have been bombing ISIS positions in the town, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said on Sunday that the situation remains “dangerous.”

"We are doing what we can do through our air strikes to help drive back Isil," as ISIS is alternatively called.

"In fact there has been some progress made in that area," Hagel added.

U.S. air strikes on ISIS targets at Kobane since Friday have hit an ISIS fighting position, damaged a command and control facility, destroyed a staging building, struck two small units of fighters and destroyed three lorries, according to the Pentagon.

(With AFP and Reuters)
 

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:43 - GMT 06:43
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