Jihadists launch fresh assault on Kobane

Jihadists launch fresh assault on Kobane

MURSITPINAR - The Islamic State launched a fresh assault on Kobane late Monday hours after it was announced that Kurds, who are defending the besieged Syrian border town, had received a first US airdrop of weapons.

The jihadists had launched an assault "on all fronts of the city," Rami Abdel Rahman, the director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group told AFP.

There were reports of heavy fighting in Kobane in the evening.

The assault followed two suicide attacks in the north of Kobane earlier on Monday, in an apparent bid to cut the town off from Turkey.

And jihadists also sent in reinforcements from Jarabulus to the west of Kobane, as shelling of the centre of town resumed towards the end of a relatively calm day.

It came as IS appeared to have opened up another front in Iraq with an attack on the Kurdish-controlled town of Qara Tapah that killed 10 people and sparked an exodus of half its population of 9,000.

"We are afraid IS will encircle us and turn this town into a second Amerli," said a resident of Qara Tapah who gave his name as Haidar, in reference to a majority Turkmen Shiite town farther north that was besieged by IS for two months.

The renewed fighting came after increased activity on the diplomatic front.

As well as the air drops, Turkey said on Monday it would help support Iraqi Kurds.

Ankara has refused land deliveries of arms to the Syrian Kurds, who are linked with Turkey's outlawed rebel Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), but said it was helping Iraqi Kurds to reinforce the strategic town in a reversal praised by Washington.

The Syrian Kurdish forces in Kobane hailed the airdrop, saying it would "help greatly" in the town's defence against a nearly five-week IS offensive.

US Secretary of State John Kerry said it would have been "morally very difficult to turn your back on a community fighting ISIL," using another acronym for IS.

And a senior administration official said the airdrop was in recognition of the "impressive" resistance put up by the Kurds and the losses they were inflicting on IS.

Three C-130 cargo aircraft carried out what the US military called "multiple" successful drops of supplies, including small arms, provided by Kurdish authorities in Iraq.

The supplies were "intended to enable continued resistance against ISIL's attempts to overtake Kobane," said US Central Command.

'We thank America'

The US-led coalition has carried out more than 135 air strikes against IS targets around Kobane, but this was the first time it had delivered arms to the town's defenders.

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