Despite reported airstrikes, ISIS edges toward Kobani

Syria Direct reports: The Islamic State appeared to be closing in on the Kurdish-majority city of Ain al-Arab in northern Aleppo Wednesday despite unconfirmed reports of airstrikes against IS positions in the area the night before.

Reports on the ground indicate that the Islamic State is anywhere from 10 to 15 kilometers from Ain al-Arab, known as Kobani in Kurdish.

Meanwhile, conflicting accounts cast doubt on the reported airstrikes against IS positions in Ain al-Arab.

The primary source of the report, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said Wednesday that an airstrike Tuesday night hit IS supply roads 35 kilometers west of Kobani.

The monitoring group could not confirm that the plane was part of the American- led coalition, but did add that the aircraft was not Syrian and came from the direction of Turkey.

Arabic and Kurdish news agencies also reported the airstrikes Tuesday night.

“According to local sources…airplanes with the international alliance hit IS positions west of Kobani,” Ara News, a pro-opposition Syrian news agency, was quoted as saying.

Kurdish reactions to the airstrikes against IS in Syria appear to be positive, even if confusion remains as to whether the strikes around Ain al-Arab actually took place.

“There was a state of joy and satisfaction [amongst the Kurds] following the strikes,” Baz Ali Bkari, a Kurdish journalist based in the Turkish side of the border, told Syria Direct Wednesday, “because it means saving the Kurdish people from a genocide at the hands of IS.”

“The Kurdish people are with the American strikes against IS,” according to Radwan Biza, another journalist based in the Kurdish city of Tal Abyad on the Syrian-Turkish border.

“US-led airstrikes targeted IS strongholds in Kobani at the Turkish border,” said Kurdish news agency Rudaw Wednesday.

Turkish officials, however, denied that Turkey was involved in the attack, saying that neither Turkish airspace nor airports were used in the operation. [Continue reading…]

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