The US-led coalition has carried out its most intense day of strikes on the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant (ISIL), whose fighters still managed to capture a police station to the east of Kobane, a border Syrian city that is the centre of weeks-long battles.
The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the Syrian civil war through a network of activists on the ground, said the station was later hit by coalition jets and destroyed.
Al Jazeera’s Yilmaz Akinci, reporting from Urfa at the Turkish borders, said air strikes, which went all through the night and in to the morning, destroyed an ISIL training camp, a building and two vehicles. The strikes also hit two ISIL combat units, our correspondent said.
“ISIL appear to have entered Kobane, but the biggest areas, the main areas, remain under the control of Kurdish fighters,” Al Jazeera’s Akinci said.
The Observatory said ISIL is now in control of more than third of the strategic Kurdish town that is only kilometres away from Turkish soil.
However, Idriss Nassan, an official with Kobane’s Kurdish government, said this is not true. “I can confirm that they don’t control a third of the city. There is only a small part of Kobane under the control of Daesh,” said Nassan, using the Arabic acronym to refer to ISIL.
He said Kurdish fighters managed to regain several other town areas on Thursday.
Both Nassan and the Observatory said more than 20 airstrikes have been conducted in the area since Wednesday afternoon. The Observatory’s chief, Rami Abdurrahman, said more than 500 people were killed in and around Kobane since the fighting began in mid-September.
He also said that ISIL brought reinforcements on Thursday from their stronghold in the border town of Jarablous and the town of Manbij and Aleppo province.
|Kurdish anger as Turkey holds fire against ISIL|
Turkey, the home of over 1.5 million Syrian refugees, is being accused of doing little in the war against ISIL. For days, Turkish tanks have lined hill tops overlooking Kobane, but have been idle despite the parliament permitting military intervention.
Responding to such criticism, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Thursday that it was unrealistic to expect Turkey to launch a ground war against the Islamic State group on its own.
Cavusoglu spoke at a news conference in Ankara with visiting NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg, who said that there is no easy solution to push back the siege on Kobane.
“ISIL poses a grave threat to the Iraqi people, to the Syrian people, to the wider region, and to NATO nations,” Stoltenberg said, using an acronym for the Islamic State group. “So it is important that the whole international community stays united in this long-term effort.”
Cavusoglu said that Turkey is prepared to take on a bigger role once a deal is reached with the US-led coalition. “Turkey will not hold back from carrying out its role,” he said.