Jihadists fight way into centre of Syria border town

Jihadists today fought their way into central Kobane in heavy clashes with the Syrian border town's Kurdish defenders, ahead of a Washington meeting of the US-led coalition against the Islamic State group.

Mursitpinar: Jihadists today fought their way into central Kobane in heavy clashes with the Syrian border town's Kurdish defenders, ahead of a Washington meeting of the US-led coalition against the Islamic State group.

The breakthrough saw IS claim half of Kobane, nearly a month after the Sunni extremists began their assault on the town on the Turkish frontier, despite more than three weeks of US-led air strikes in Syria aimed at stopping them.

That failure will be among the main points up for discussion at Tuesday's meeting in Washington of military chiefs from the 21 countries in the US-led coalition, as will Turkey's call for the establishment of a protective buffer zone.

In their latest air strikes, American and Saudi warplanes targeted seven sites around Kobane, the US military said, including IS staging posts used to try to cut the town off from the outside world.

A Kobane politician who is now a refugee said IS fighters had surrounded Kobane to the south, east and west, and warned of a "massacre" if they take the northern front bordering Turkey.

"If they manage to take control of that area, they will close all access to the town and will begin a massacre," Feyza Abdi said from Turkey.

"That is what they want, to completely enclose the town, cut off all contact with Turkey and engage in barbarism."

Fighting spread to less than a kilometer from the barbed wire frontier fence, with the jihadists carrying out three suicide car bomb attacks in the border zone, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The Britain-based monitoring group later said IS had advanced into central Kobane, seizing a major building and squeezing the town's Kurdish defenders into its northern half bordering Turkey.

With the jihadists advancing on its doorstep, NATO member Turkey has come under intense pressure to take action as part of the coalition that has been carrying out air strikes in both Syria and Iraq.

Ankara, which has called for a buffer zone to guard its border and provide some protection to fleeing Kurds, denied allowing the United States to use its bases against IS.

Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel had said the agreement to use Incirlik air base in southern Turkey included hosting training for Syrian rebels.

But the Turkish government vehemently denied it was allowing US forces to carry out bombing raids from Incirlik.

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