ISIS fighters advance on Turkish border

AMERICAN air strikes have done little to dislodge ISIS fighters trying to take a major Kurdish city on the Turkish border, Kurdish fighters and commanders said yesterday.

They described the desperate battle to stop the ISIS advance on Kobane which shelters a population of at least 200,000.

One described how a friend stopped an ISIS assault by dropping a bomb through a tank hatch, killing himself as well. "He just couldn't take seeing the tanks bombing the village and killing so many people," said a young fighter of the People's Protection Units (YPG), "He ran forward, opened the top and held the bomb while it exploded the tank."

Blood still seeping through his bandage with metal pins securing his crushed lower leg, the injured fighter described how his battalion fought Isis militants who appeared to be high on drugs in the village of Tel Gazal in Kobane province on Tuesday: "We retreated into the village and hid to set an ambush when they attacked. They came with 10 cars with heavy machine guns strapped on top and four tanks."

YPG fighters managed to destroy two of their cars, the fighter said, before his friend made his fatal attack, causing the Isis fighters to temporarily retreat.

Fighting has intensified on the southern front where the Kurdish YPG, bolstered by hundreds of Turkish Kurdish fighters and Free Syrian Army (FSA) battalions are fighting to stop the onslaught against Kobane. The battle has been focused on one hill overlooking Kobane four miles from the city, which sits directly on the Turkish border.

But the US-led air strikes which began on Monday have been ineffective, according to the chief of defence for Kobane, Ismat Sheikh Hassan, speaking to The Independent by phone from his base inside Kobane.

"They struck empty buildings. Isis fighters used to be there but they left, so they haven't helped us. If anything, they are now fighting harder to push forward before there are more strikes," he said.

- INM


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