"Fierce clashes are still under way but the ISIS (Islamic State)
advance to the east of Kobani has been halted since last night,"
Redur Xelil, spokesman for the main Kurdish armed group, the YPG,
said via Skype.
He said the eastern front was the scene of the fiercest fighting in
the offensive launched by Islamic State last Tuesday on Kobani, also
known in Arabic as Ayn al-Arab. More than 100,000 Syrian Kurds,
driven by fear of Islamic State, have fled its advance, many
crossing the border into Turkey.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which tracks violence in
the Syrian war, said Islamic State fighters had made no significant
advance in the last 24 hours.
The offensive is Islamic State's second attempt to take Kobani since
June, when it staged a lightning advance across northern Iraq,
seizing the city of Mosul and with it Iraqi weaponry including
American-made hardware that the Syrian Kurds say is now being used
The previous attack on Kobani, in July, was fought off with the help
of Kurds who crossed the border from Turkey. Xelil said hundreds had
crossed from Turkey again to help repel the current offensive.
"There have been no reinforcements apart from some Kurdish youths
from Turkey," he said.
The United States has launched air strikes against Islamic State in
Iraq and has said it will not hesitate to strike the group in Syria,
but wants allies to join its campaign.
[to top of second column]
The United Nations said on Sunday the number of Syrian Kurds who had
fled into neighboring Turkey alone might have topped 100,000 and was
likely to go much higher.
"There are still clashes to the west and south of Kobani but not at
the same intensity as the eastern front," Xelil said.
Rami Abdulrahman, who runs the Observatory, said Islamic State had
made "no progress worth mentioning" in the past 24 hours, but that
clashes were "at their most intense".
There were conflicting accounts of how far Islamic State fighters
were from Kobani. Xelil said they were 20-30 km (12-19 miles) away,
while Abdulrahman said they were around half that distance from the
(Reporting by Tom Perry; Editing by Kevin Liffey)
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