'Unrealistic to expect Turkey to act, air strikes not enough to finish IS in Syria'

The US-led anti-Islamic State air strikes in Syria near the town of Kobane have hardly managed to check the advance of the extremist fighters and the ISIS now capture a considerable chunk of the crucial border town, a British-based monitor said on Thursday.

'Unrealistic to expect Turkey to act, air strikes not enough to finish IS in Syria'

Ayn al-Arab: Despite US pressure urging it to act militarily, Turkey (which has sheltered the refugees from Syria), remains a mute spectator as the ISIS goes on slaughtering people just few kilometres away in Kobani.

The US has been pressing Turkey to do more and act militarily against ISIS to prevent the massacre but Turkey has so far done nothing besides stationing tanks on its border with Syria. Turkey has refused to act militarily in favour of Kurdish fighters as it considers them an extended part of PKK, which they have branded as a terrorist group. Turkish inaction over Syria comes despite a nod by its parliament last week, allowing military strikes against ISIS.

To convince Turkey to act against the ISIS, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, as well as President Barack Obama's two envoys to the anti-Islamic State coalition, retired Gen. John Allen and Ambassador Brett McGurk, arrived in Ankara on Thursday for talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

However, not seeming to budge over its earlier stance, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said it was unrealistic to expect Turkey to lead a ground operation against Islamic State (IS) militants in Syria on its own.

Speaking at a news conference after meeting NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg, he said, "It`s not realistic to expect that Turkey will lead a ground operation on its own".

He added that US-led strikes against ISIS were not enough to placate the situation in Syria and that the West must collaborate with anti-IS Syrian rebels​.

"Air strikes can reverse the balance of power and stop IS, but will not be enough to clean the region of IS," Cavusoglu was quoted as saying by the AFP.

"Therefore all other options, including a ground operation, should be considered and the Free Syrian Army should be supported," he added.

Turkey has also called for creation of a buffer zone over its border with Syria, to which US seems indifferent. France however said it was in agreement to the idea of creating such a zone.

The US-led anti-Islamic State air strikes in Syria near the town of Kobane have hardly managed to check the advance of the extremist fighters and the ISIS now capture a considerable chunk of the crucial border town, a British-based monitor said on Thursday.

According to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the ISIS now captures one third of Kobane (also known as Ayn al-Arab), even as the violent clashes between IS and YPG fighters continue to erupt.

After an uneasy calm overnight, the town of Kobane on Thursday morning witnessed fresh fierce clashes with Kurdish fighters, who fear unspeakable repercussions if the town falls in the hands of monsters.

"The clashes between IS and YPG fighters renewed in Tariq al Baba front in southwest, west, east and northeast of Kobani. Reliable resources reported that the clashes have been concentrated near al Asyaesh Building and in the vicinity of al Sharia School in the city," read a Facebook post by SOHR.

Thick dark plumes of smoke and dust are a common sight in the embattled town of Kobane which is deafened with constant firing of weapons and explosions as the gallant Kurds fight with the barbaric IS extremists.

Having lost some eastern districts yesterday due to continued and intensified US-led air strikes by coalition members, the ISIS relaunched an offensive to reclaim lost areas and managed to succeed and now it has taken all eastern districts under its control

The ISIS desperately wants to wrest control of Kobane as doing so will lend them control over a full stretch of area along Syria-Turkey border.

The ISIS advance in Kobani comes despite increased US-led airstrikes as according to the SOHR, some 20 strikes were carried out by the coalition that targeted IS pool in Kobane and managed to kill 45 fighters.

Meanwhile, 

As the ISIS manage to gain ground in Kobane despite US-led coalition air strikes, the US and UK made it clear that the strikes alone were not enough to save Kobane and what was most needed was “a willing, capable, effective partner on the ground inside Syria”.

"Air strikes alone are not going to save the town of Kobane," Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm John Kirby said.

British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond met US Secretary of State John Kerry in Washington and discussed the ISIS threat. Kerry said how US and UK share a lot in the context of ISIS as the citizens of both the countries were brutally murdered by the extremists.

Kerry also thanked UK for its humanitarian assistance in Iraq that he said was worth $36mn.

Hammond said that the coalition couldn't bring about a “ fundamental difference” in Kobane's situation.

“I don't want to suggest that there is anything readily that the coalition can do that will make a fundamental difference... in the tactical situation that's faced around Kobane," he was quoted as saying by the BBC.

The battle for Kobane is in its third week now as the ISIS had launched a major offensive on Kobane on September 16, and since then more than 1,60,000 have fled to Turkey, fearing massacre.

According to the monitor, some 400 people have lost their lives in 20 days of fighting. The SOHR has documented 412 deaths since September 16, but says that the real number could be much higher as “there is absolute secrecy on casualties and due to the difficulty of access to many areas and villages that have witnessed violent clashes and bombardment by the two sides”.

Of the 400 dead, over 200 casualties were said to be that from the ISIS, who died due to ambushes, bombardments, etc.

 

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