Heavy fighting hits Syrian border town

first_imgBEIRUT — Islamic State militants heavily shelled a Kurdish town on Syria’s Turkish border Friday as jihadi fighters prepared an all-out offensive for the strategic site, whose capture would provide a direct link between areas under their control in Aleppo and their stronghold in Raqqa to the east.The fighting came as Turkey’s prime minister pledged his country would do what it could to prevent the fall of Kobani, although he did not spell out what assistance Turkey would provide. Turkey’s parliament gave the government new powers Thursday to launch military incursions into Syria and Iraq, and to allow foreign forces to use its territory for possible operations against the Islamic State group.Kurdish officials and activists said that Islamic State group fighters had so far not penetrated the frontier town as fighting raged on the eve of a major Muslim holiday.“It looks like they are going to attack tonight and try to enter (Kobani) on the day of the feast,” said Nasser Haj Mansour, a defense official in Syria’s Kurdish region, referring to the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha that begins today in most Muslim countries.“Kurdish fighters are ready and prepared to repel any attack.”Haj Mansour said shelling of Kobani on Friday afternoon killed three civilians. Kobani and its surrounding areas have been under attack since mid-September, with militants capturing dozens of nearby Kurdish villages. The assault, which has forced some 160,000 Syrians to flee, has left the Kurdish militiamen scrambling to repel the militants’ advance into the outskirts of the town, also known as Ayn Arab.last_img read more