ISIS closes in on Kobane

The Associated Press reports: Militants of the Islamic State group were closing in Monday on a Kurdish area of Syria on the border with Turkey — an advance unhindered so far by U.S.-led coalition airstrikes, including one that struck a grain silo, killing two civilians, according to activists.

Islamic State fighters pounded the city of Kobani with mortars and artillery shells, advancing within three miles (five kilometers) of the Kurdish frontier city, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and Nawaf Khalil, a Kurdish official.

The Islamic extremists intensified their shelling of the border region following U.S.-led strikes Saturday. The aerial assault appeared to have done little to thwart the militants, Kurdish officials and activists said, adding that of anything, the extremists seemed more determined to seize the area, which would deepen their control over territory stretching from the Turkish border, across Syria and to the western edge of Baghdad.

“Instead of pushing them back, now every time they hear the planes, they shell more,” Ahmad Sheikho, an activist operating along the Syria-Turkey border, said of the Islamic State fighters. He estimated he heard a rocket explosion every 15 minutes or so.

Three mortar shells landed in a field in nearby Turkey, the Turkish military said in a statement. After the strike, Turkey’s military moved tanks away from the army post in the area, positioning them on a hill overlooking the border. [Continue reading…]

Today’s Zaman reports: After a visit to the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobani, a leader of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) called on the Turkish government to support Syrian Kurds’ fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) to defend the besieged town near the Turkish border, saying this is a chance to strengthen Turkey’s peace process with the Kurds.

Selahattin Demirtaş, co-chairman of the HDP, was speaking to reporters on the Turkish side of the border after visiting Kobani.

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