Syrian Kurds push back ISIL from Kobane hill

Kurdish fighters make progress against ISIL on Mishtenur hill, which overlooks key Syrian town on border with Turkey.

ISIL fighters have been trying for nearly three weeks to seize Kobane [AP]

Syrian Kurds have pushed back fighters from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) from an area of high ground known as the Mishtenur hill, overlooking the Syrian town of Kobane, also known as Ain al-Arab, on the border with Turkey.

ISIL had attempted to storm the town from both east and west of the strategic hill, but Kurdish fighters repulsed the attack on Sunday, said the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

ISIL had seized part of Mishtenur hill late on Saturday, but US-led air strikes slowed their advance.

According to Reuters news agency, at least thirty Kurdish fighters were killed in two suicide attacks on two checkpoints run by Kuridsh fighters in Syria’s northeastern city of Hasakah, the obervatory’s Rami Abdelrahman said.

ISIL fired at least 10 rockets at the town of Kobane on Sunday, the observatory said, as the two sides fought over the strategic town.

The latest fighting came a day after a Kurdish female fighter blew herself up at an IS position on Sunday, the observatory said.

Clashes continue

The observatory said heavy clashes took place overnight, with US-led coalition airstrikes killing at least 16 fighters.

Al Jazeera’s Bernard Smith, reporting from Urfa in Turkey, said shelling and heavy gunfire continued all morning on Monday, as the battle for Kobane continued.

Smith said about 2,000 or 3,000 Syrian Kurds were fighting with powerful weapons, but have been demanding more.

He said Salah Muslim, the leader of the Syrian Kurds, had met with Turkish security officials and asked for more weapons, rather than Turkish soldiers joining the fighting, and permission to enter Turkish territory to pick up the arms.

ISIL fighters have been trying for nearly three weeks to seize Kobane, in a bid to cement their grip over a long stretch of the Syrian-Turkish border.

The attacks since mid-September have sent more than 160,000 Syrians fleeing into Turkey.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies