Kurds call for help in Kobani street battle
Mourners in Suruc, Turkey bury Kurdish fighters killed battling IS jihadists for control of Kobani on Oct. 11. (AFP/Aris Messinis)
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The battle for Kobani between Kurdish forces and Islamic State militants dragged on Saturday in bitter street-by-street fighting, according to various media reports.
Outgunned by the more heavily armed IS attackers, the Kurdish defenders were facing ISIS advances from two directions, AFP reported, citing Kurdish military sources and Syrian observers. While U.S.-led airstrikes have been pounding IS positions in recent days, they have not been able to halt the IS advance.
The Guardian reported that IS fighters had been able to bring tanks and artillery to bear despite the aerial assault, citing a Kurdish commander. Early Saturday, the newspaper said, Kurdish defenders had managed to hold off an IS push towards the heart of the town, forcing the militants back after 90 minutes of heavy fighting.
Protests have raged in recent days over Turkey's inaction regarding the Kobani situation, and Kurdish officials again called on the Turkish government to allow arms and civilians to move across its border to and from the besieged area, AFP reported. At least 30 people have been killed in the unrest in Turkey, The New York Times said.
U.S. officials have said the coalition's focus is on supporting ground forces in Iraq, the Guardian said, but they have described the Iraqi army's position in Anbar province as 'tenous' amid repeated IS attacks.