Over 1,000 die in Kobani battle

Kurdish people carry the coffins of a People's Protection Unit (YPG) fighter and a Kurdish Women's Protection Unit (YPJ) fighter who died during fighting in the besieged Syrian border town of Kobane, during a funeral in the town of Suruc, Sanliurfa province, in this Nov. 7, 2014 photo.

Kurdish people carry the coffins of a People’s Protection Unit (YPG) fighter and a Kurdish Women’s Protection Unit (YPJ) fighter who died during fighting in the besieged Syrian border town of Kobane, during a funeral in the town of Suruc, Sanliurfa province, in this Nov. 7, 2014 photo.

BEIRUT: More than 1,000 people, mostly militants, have been killed in Kobani since the Islamic State group launched an offensive on the Syrian town nearly two months ago, a monitor said Sunday.

IS terrorists, who proclaimed a “caliphate” in June straddling territory captured in Iraq and Syria, launched their offensive for the town in mid-September.

“At least 1,013 people have been killed in fighting from the beginning of the offensive till last night,” said Syrian Observatory for Human Rights director Rami Abdel Rahman.

Militants from the IS group accounted for 609 of those killed in the Kurdish town on the Turkish border, he said.

Another 363 of those killed were members of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units, 16 were Kurdish volunteers, and one was a Syrian Arab fighter who had joined the ranks of the Kurds. There were 24 civilians among the dead, said the director of the Britain-based group which relies on a network of sources on the ground for its information.

Iraq was on Sunday investigating whether IS group chief Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi was killed in airstrikes.

The death of the elusive Baghdadi would be a major victory for the coalition of countries carrying out airstrikes against IS and aiding Iraqi forces. The announcement of the strikes came after President Barack Obama unveiled plans to send up to 1,500 more US troops to Iraq to advise and train the country’s forces, deepening Washington’s commitment to the open-ended war against IS.

“Until now, there is no accurate information available,” a senior Iraqi intelligence official said when asked about whether Baghdadi had been killed. “The information is from unofficial sources and was not confirmed until now, and we are working on that,” the official said without specifying what the initial reports indicated.

Washington has offered a $10 million reward for his capture, and some analysts say he is increasingly seen as more powerful than Al-Qaeda chief Ayman Al-Zawahiri.

 
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