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Kurdish fighters build makeshift tanks in defense against ISIS

Kurdish forces have begun to convert trucks, bulldozers and agricultural vehicles into makeshift armored vehicles

Published: Updated:

While Islamic State of Iraq and Syrian (ISIS) militants close in on the key Kurdish town on Syria’s border with Turkey, local forces have been finding new ways to upgrade their fighting power.

Faced with an onslaught from extremists heavily equipped with U.S. weaponry seized from the Iraqi army, Kurdish forces – known as the People’s Protection Units (YPG) - have begun to convert trucks, bulldozers and agricultural vehicles into makeshift armored vehicles, Kurdish social media accounts show.

(Photo courtesy of Twitter)

On Monday, ISIS militants advanced to within five kilometers of Ain al-Arab, known to Kurds as Kobane.

“They are five kilometres to the south and southeast of Kobane,” said Rami Abdel Rahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, according to Agence France-Presse.

“It is the closest distance [ISIS] has come so far,” he added.

ISIS launched a bid to capture Ain al-Arab nearly two weeks ago, and have since captured 67 villages surrounding the town.

The fighting has prompted at least 160,000 people to flee across the border into Turkey, and the group's advances have continued despite several strikes by a U.S.-led coalition around the town.

Ain al-Arab is Syria's third-largest Kurdish town and would be a key prize for ISIS, allowing its fighters to complete their control over a long stretch of the Syrian border with Turkey.

(With AFP)