Islamic State militants sneaked on Monday early morning into the Kurdish-controlled Syrian border city of Ayn Arab (Kobani), killing and injuring more than 150 people.
The infiltrators, wearing Free Syrian Army uniforms, drove inside the city with 5 vehicles early at dawn. One of suicide drivers blew himself at the Morshed Binar border crossing, killing at least 30 people. Massive firefights followed the suicide attack.
Immediately, the Kurdish People Protection Units (YPG) sent reinforcements to defend the city.
Local sources confirmed that ISIS fighters shot dead 23 people in the Kurdish village of Barkh Butan, including women and children as well as locals who had taken arms to fight the assailants.
The Kurdish militia backed by US airstrikes defeated ISIS in Kobani last year.
The Kurds accused Turkey of allowing ISIS to use the border crossing as a launch pad to break into the city. The Kurd’s fresh and rapid advance in Tal Abyad and Ayn Issa has alarmed the authorities in Ankara, raising concerns of their intention to establish a de facto state along the borders. A move, if ever occurred, will pose a direct threat to Turkey’s national security.
Having seized two ISIS-held towns, namely Tal Abyad and Ayn Issa, Kurdish militiamen are mobilizing to attack the group’s de facto capital of Al-Raqqa. Within this context, the attack is seen by many as an attempt to distract the Kurdish militia from the potential offensive against al-Raqqa.