Kurdish fighters from the People’s Protection Units (YPG), a local militia, were forced to withdraw to the outskirts of Kobane, on the Syria-Turkey border.
The fight for the Kurdish city of Kobane in Syria intensified on Thursday as the Islamic State militia was located just outside the city, a monitoring group said. Kurdish fighters from the People’s Protection Units (YPG), a local militia, were forced to withdraw from western areas to the outskirts of the city, said the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Meanwhile, Turkey’s parliament voted on Thursday to authorize the government to take military action in Iraq and Syria, but it remains unclear what actions the NATO member might take to support the US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group.
The “situation in the western side of Kobane is very dangerous as the Islamic fighters have made major advancements overnight and are as close as 2 kilometres or less from Kobane,” said the head of the observatory, Rami Abdel Rahman.
The watchdog group, which compiles information from a network of local activists across Syria, said the ill—equipped YPG and other Kurdish fighters were preparing for street battles amid fears that the better armed Islamic State militants might commit massacres if they take the city on the Turkish border.
The observatory, which noted that the jihadists had not yet overrun the city, said additional fierce fighting was taking place in the eastern and southern parts of the city, which was being shelled by the militants.
A YPG spokesman confirmed fighting was taking place on three fronts at Kobane, the last Kurdish bastion in the area.
Refugees continue to flee the city. So far, more than 160,000 people have arrived in Turkey, according to the government in Ankara.
Airstrikes were conducted overnight near Kobane, the second day in a row of aerial sorties against the jihadists, who nevertheless continue to advance. The United States is backed by five Arab states in its mission in Syria.
The 16-day jihadist offensive on Kobane, the smallest of three Kurdish-controlled areas in northern and north-eastern Syria, has displaced more than 300,000 civilians, the observatory said.
The United Nations said as many as 400,000 people could be forced to flee to Turkey if Kobane falls.
Elsewhere in Syria, hundreds of people took to the streets of the central city of Homs, calling on its governor to resign after a suicide bomber on Wednesday killed 46 schoolchildren.
The attack in the Akrama neighbourhood, an Alawite area largely seen as supporting President Bashar al—Assad, killed 53 people in total, according to the observatory.
Meanwhile in Iraq, Islamic State fighters were engaged in battles against Kurdish peshmerga forces in the north-west near Sinjar and also with the Iraqi army in the western province of al-Anbar.
There were reports the jihadists and their allies had taken over parts of the city of Heet in the province, but the situation remained unclear as fighting was still ongoing.
The US is also carrying out airstrikes against the Islamic State in Iraq along with Britain and France.