NEW YORK, October 8 (RIA Novosti) - The UN envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura has called on the international community to prevent the north Syrian town of Kobani, also known as Ayn al-Arab, from falling to Islamic State (IS) militants.
"The city of Kobane [Kobani] on the northern border of Syria, close to Turkey, has been under siege now for three weeks. The international community needs to defend them. The international community cannot sustain another city falling under ISIS [IS]," Mistura said on Tuesday.
He continued by noting that the area used to have a 400,000 Kurdish population before the IS offensive.
"They have been defending themselves with great courage. But they are now very close to not being able to do so. They are fighting with normal weapons, whereas the ISIS [IS] has got tanks and mortars," the UN official underscored.
The IS Sunni extremist group has seized large parts of Iraq and Syria and proclaimed an Islamic caliphate on the controlled areas. Its rapid advance in northern Iraq triggered a response from Washington, which launched airstrikes against the insurgents fighting on the Iraqi soil in August. The military action was subsequently extended to Syria with international coalition taking part in air raids.
The IS militants and Kurdish forces have been clashing over the Syrian town of Kobani, bordering with Turkey, for three weeks. Turkish military has reportedly pulled more troops to the border, including tanks and armored vehicles. Ankara, though, has so far been reluctant to intervene, despite the parliament's authorization to use military force against the jihadists.