ISIS withdraws from some parts of Syria’s Kobane
Militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria group withdrew from some parts of the embattled Syrian town of Kobane overnight after air strikes by a U.S.-led coalition, Agence France-Presse reported a monitor as saying on Wednesday.
Rami Abdel Rahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said “fighters from the Islamic State withdrew overnight from several areas in the east of Ain al-Arab (Kobane) and the southwestern edges.”
After the pullback, the group’s fighters were present in eastern parts of the strategic town and its southern edges, but were no longer inside on the western front, Abdel Rahman said.
He said the move came after “their rear positions were hit in strikes, causing casualties and damaging at least four of their vehicles.”
ISIS fighters entered Kobane, also known as Ain al-Arab, on Monday night, after nearly three weeks of fighting around the town on the Syria-Turkey border.
No Turkish flights to Diyarbakir
While Turkey voted to join the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS in Syria, at least 14 people were killed on Tuesday in pro-Kurdish protests across Turkey against Ankara’s refusal to intervene militarily against ISIS attacking the Syrian town of Kobane.
The civil unrest prompted Turkish Airlines to cancel all of its Wednesday morning flights to the mainly Kurdish city of Diyarbakir in southeastern Turkey after the local governor imposed a curfew, Reuters reported.
Five people were killed in Diyarbakir on Tuesday as Kurds, who make up an estimated 20 percent of the population, demanded the government to do more to protect the Syrian town of Kobani.
Turkish Airlines’ flights originating at Istanbul’s two airports and the capital Ankara’s airport were halted, an official said.
Turkey’s Defense Minister Ismet Yılmaz said late Tuesday that Turkey aims to act with the international community “with minimum damage” and NATO already has a contingency plan for the country in case ISIS decides to attack.
On Tuesday, fighting raged in the east, west and south of Kobane, which is Syria’s third biggest Kurdish town, and a U.S.-led coalition fighting ISIS carried out multiple air strikes around the town.
Mustafa Ebdi, a Kurdish journalist and activist from Kobane, wrote on his Facebook page that “the streets of the Maqtala neighborhood in southeastern Kobane are full of the bodies of Daesh fighters,” using the Arabic acronym for ISIS.
But he added that hundreds of civilians remained in the town and “the humanitarian situation is difficult and people need food and water.”
ISIS began its advance on Kobane on Sep. 16, quickly sweeping through the surrounding countryside and prompting an estimated 186,000 people to flee the region across the border into Turkey.
According to the Observatory, at least 412 people have been killed in the fighting, though the group said it believes the true toll could be twice as high.