Kurds thwart new IS bid to cut off Syria's Kobane

Kurdish forces in the Syrian town of Kobane thwarted a new attempt by fighters from the Islamic State group today to cut off the border with Turkey before Iraqi Kurdish reinforcements can deploy.

AFP| Last Updated: Oct 26, 2014, 23:19 PM IST

Mursitpinar: Kurdish forces in the Syrian town of Kobane thwarted a new attempt by fighters from the Islamic State group today to cut off the border with Turkey before Iraqi Kurdish reinforcements can deploy.

The pre-dawn assault marked the fourth straight day that the jihadists had attacked the Syrian side of the border crossing as the Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga fighters prepare to head for Kobane, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Kurdish forces, backed by US-led air strikes, have been holding out for weeks against an IS offensive around Kobane, which has become a high-profile symbol of efforts to stop the advance of the jihadists.

More than 800 people have been killed in ground fighting for Kobane since the IS offensive on the Syrian Kurdish enclave began on September 16, the Observatory said.

The jihadists have lost 481 dead, while 313 Kurds have been killed fighting to defend the area, said the Britain-based group, which has a wide network of sources inside Syria.

The figures do not include IS losses to US-led air strikes, which the Pentagon has said run to "several hundred."

Civilians accounted for 21 of the dead. The jihadist assault prompted nearly all of the enclave's population to flee, with some 200,000 refugees streaming over the border into neighbouring Turkey.

Last week, under heavy US pressure, Turkey unexpectedly announced that it would allow the peshmerga fighters to cross its territory to join the fight for Kobane.

The main Syrian Kurdish fighting force in the town has close links with the outlawed rebel Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has fought a three-decade insurgency in southeastern Turkey and Ankara had previously resisted calls to allow in reinforcements.

The peshmerga forces are "ready to go", but they are not expected to deploy to Kobane before Monday at the earliest, Kurdish news agency Rudaw reported.

"Technical issues" concerning their transit through Turkey still had to be resolved, Rudaw said without elaborating.

The names of all of the fighters in the force have been submitted to both Ankara and Washington, it added.

The Democratic Union Party (PYD) which dominates Kobane agreed to the offer of the peshmerga troops.