Intense battles raging in Syria’s Kurdish city

Xinhua
September 21, 2014

DAMASCUS, Intense battles are still raging between the Islamic State (IS) terror group and Kurdish militias in the surrounding of a predominantly Kurdish city in northern Syria, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported Sunday.

The clashes, which have been incessant since last Tuesday, have continued with the IS terrorists using tanks and heavy artillery in their push toward the city of Ain al-Arab, also known as Kobani.

The IS militants have seized control of 64 villages in the vicinity of the city while displacing as many as 70,000 Kurds, who sought refuge in neighboring Turkey.

The destiny of 800 civilian Kurds is still unknown in the areas that have been swept by the IS fighters, said the Observatory, adding that 11 civilian Kurds were executed on Friday. The Observatory placed the death toll among the Kurdish militants over the past 48 hours at 27 and 39 fighters of the IS.

Earlier, Kurdish leaders implored the Kurds in both Iraq and Turkey to help their fellow Kurds in Syria against the wide-scale offensive by the Islamic State militants.

Masoud Barazani, the president of Iraq’s Kurdistan region, on Friday urged the international community to “use every means” to protect Ain al-Arab.

Sure enough, hundreds of Kurdish fighters poured into northern Syria from Turkey and Iraq on Saturday to defend Ain al-Arab, local reports said.

The Chairman of the National Initiative for Syrian Kurds and the member of the Syrian Parliament, Omar Ossi, said in remarks to the pro-government al-Watan daily Sunday that the Kurdish areas in northern Syria are going to be “graveyard for the Islamic State fighters.”

Ossi also deemed the ferocious attack by the radical Sunni militants on Kurdish areas as part of their strategy to target the minority groups in both Iraq and Syria, pointing out to the IS tactics in Iraq where they attacked Christians and the Yazidis minority groups and rousted people out of their homes.

He also urged the Syrian air force to back the Kurdish militants in Ain al-Arab.

Meanwhile, the attack by the radical IS militants on Kurdish villages has stirred a wave of criticism by Syrian opposition groups, mainly the National Coordination Body (NCB), which branded the attacks as “barbaric.” In a statement, the NCB urged the Syrians to stand behind the Kurdish militants in their battles against the IS.

The NCB and Ossi have assigned the blame on the Turkish government, accusing it of cooperating with the IS, citing the Turkish government’s reluctance to join the international coalition that was reached to fight the IS, which has extended its influence into areas in Iraq and Syria.

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