Beirut: The militants of the Islamic State (IS) Sunni extremist group are not quite as near the Turkish border as some reports out of Ankara may claim, the Syrian-Kurdish Democratic Union Party (DUP) said Monday.
Turkish media had reported that IS forces had advanced to within five kilometers of the border, but in a phone conversation, DUP spokesman Nawaf Jalil insisted the jihadis are at least some 20 km distant, as they would otherwise have seized the Syrian city of Kobani, Efe reported.
Kobani is considered one of the main Kurdish enclaves in Syria and has been under fierce attack by IS jihadis who have already taken over some 60 nearby towns and villages.
According to Jalil, Turkish media wrongly reported an IS advance because the authorities want to close the border to keep out more refugees from Kobani, where over 200,000 Kurds have already fled their homes.
Most of those refugees headed for Turkey. But the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 5,000 Syrian refugees have returned to Kobani city since Sunday due to the "poor conditions they found in Turkey".
The IS proclaimed an Islamic caliphate in June in the areas under its control in Syria and Iraq. The Kurds, who reside in Iraq, Syria and other nearby countries, have been targeted by the extremists because they oppose the IS's strict interpretation of Islam.