Islamic State Escalates Kobani Offensive Amid Airstrikes

Islamic State targeted Kobani’s Kurdish defenders with three car bombs and an intense shelling as they escalated their offensive ahead of mooted reinforcements for the Syrian town.

Kurdish fighters fought off an attack on a border crossing with Turkey today, Ibrahim Kurdo, a local official in Kobani, said by phone. Militants have been firing mortars and rockets “non-stop” since yesterday, Meryem Kobane, a rebel commander, said.

Islamic State appear to be trying to capture the Mursitpinar border crossing before the arrival of Kurdish Peshmerga forces from northern Iraq, state-run TRT television as well as private news channels A Haber and NTV said today. It was not clear when or if the Peshmerga will reach Kobani, nor what route they would take.

Talks between Iraqi Kurds, Turkey and local Syrian forces had yet to reach an agreement on the deployment of the Peshmerga or the supply of arms to Kobani, Kurdo said.

Five U.S. airstrikes near Kobani destroyed seven Islamic State vehicles and a building they were using, the U.S. Central Command said in a statement on its website yesterday. The U.K.- based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the country’s civil war, said yesterday more than 800 people have been killed in Kobani since Islamic State’s onslaught began Sept. 16.

“The situation is still dangerous in Kobani, and we’re in need of weapons as soon as possible,” Kurdo said. Arms airdropped by U.S. cargo planes Oct. 20 did not include heavy weapons “to match the superior firepower of Islamic State,” the rebel commander Kobane said without elaborating.

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