A lull in fighting was reported early on Tuesday in Kobani, also known by its Arabic name of Ayn al-Arab. But the brief period of calm soon erupted in sporadic gunfights that hit the town’s western, eastern and southern suburbs.
Kurdish fighters have meanwhile refuted reports that claimed part of the town had been lost to Islamists. Al-Mayadeen has cited a source with Kobani defenders as saying that fierce fighting is underway in some suburban districts where IS militants have seized several buildings. According to the TV channel, Kurds killed overnight 35 extremists that had been laying siege to Kobani’s southern gate.
On Monday, several media quoted a Turkish military officer across the border as saying he had spotted IS insurgents raise a black flag over a building in eastern Kobani. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based NGO, also said that IS fighters had taken control of two districts and an industrial zone in the town, deemed key to a large stretch of the Syrian-Turkish border.
In the wake of a three-week long fighting in and around Kobani, the Turkish military has pulled more troops to the border, including tanks and armored vehicles. Al-Mayadeen reports that Turkish border guards have been trying to disperse large numbers of Turkish Kurds with water cannons as young men sought to boost defenders’ ranks in Kobani.
Protests erupted overnight across Turkey, with people rallying in defiance of Ankara’s inactivity in the face of the IS offensive. Turkey has so far been reluctant to intervene, despite its parliament’s decision last week to use military force in Syria and Iraq.
The Islamic State is a Sunni jihadi group that has been fighting the Syrian government since 2012. In June 2014, it launched an offensive in Iraq, seizing vast areas in both countries and announcing the establishment of an Islamic caliphate on the territories under its control. Kurds are but one of indigenous, non-Sunni ethnic groups in Syria and Iraq that have suffered greatly from IS violence.