Battle rages in key Syrian town under jihadist attack

Kurdish militiant in Kobane came under renewed assault by the Islamic State group today, as 20 jihadists were reported killed after entering the key Syrian town for the first time.

AFP| Last Updated: Oct 07, 2014, 00:06 AM IST
 Battle rages in key Syrian town under jihadist attack

Suruc: Kurdish militiant in Kobane came under renewed assault by the Islamic State group today, as 20 jihadists were reported killed after entering the key Syrian town for the first time.

IS militants were trying to storm Kobane on the border with Turkey from both east and west of a strategic hill to the south, but Kurdish fighters repelled them, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

It said at least 20 jihadists were killed late Sunday when they entered an eastern neighbourhood and were ambushed by Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) fighters.

Their assault appeared to be the first time IS fighters had entered Kobane since their advance on it began nearly three weeks ago.

A Syrian Kurdish official inside Kobane said it had come under heavy bombardment.

Idris Nahsen could not confirm if IS jihadists were inside the town, but an AFP photographer reported from the Turkish border that two black IS flags were flying Monday on Kobane's eastern side.

IS fighters seized part of Mishtenur Hill, which overlooks Kobane, late on Saturday, but US-led air strikes slowed their advance.

In a sign of mounting desperation, a Kurdish female fighter blew herself up at an IS position east of Kobane on Sunday, the Observatory said.

It was the first reported instance of a female Kurdish fighter employing a tactic often used by the jihadists, said the Britain-based monitor, which has a wide network of sources inside Syria.

The bomber, in her 20s, was a full-time YPG fighter identified as Dilar Gencxemis, alias Arin Mirkan, from Kurdish-controlled Afrin in northwestern Syria.

"She killed dozens of gang members and demonstrated the YPG fighters' determined resistance," her group said in a statement carried by the pro-Kurdish Firat news agency.

On another front, twin IS suicide truck bombings killed at least 30 YPG fighters and security officers on Monday in the Kurdish town of Hasakeh, northeast Syria, the Observatory said.

Sunday's fighting around Kobane -- also known as Ain al-Arab -- killed at least 19 Kurdish fighters and 27 IS jihadists, it added.

The town has become a crucial battleground in the international fight against the jihadists, who sparked further outrage at the weekend with the release of a video showing the beheading of Briton Alan Henning.

The video the latest in a series of on-camera beheadings of Western hostages -- also included a threat to another hostage, US aid worker Peter Kassig.