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International coalition target ISIS near Kobani | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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(Asharq Al-Awsat)

 (Asharq Al-Awsat)

(Asharq Al-Awsat)

Beirut, Asharq Al-Awsat—US-led airstrikes targeted the positions of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) near the strategic town of Kobani, located on Syria’s north border with Turkey, on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Aerial bombardment hit two major villages to the east and the west of the Kurdish-majority town, also known as Ayn Al-Arab, where ISIS fighters had taken refuge, as well as Tal Abyad in Al-Raqqah province, the group’s stronghold in Syria.

In Deir Ezzor, east of Syria, two villages where several ISIS fighters were positioned were also targeted by the airstrikes.

Meanwhile, the Turkish military stepped up its presence along its southern border with Syria as tanks and armored vehicles were seem positioned on a hill overlooking Kobani. Several shells have fallen on the Turkish side during the past few days as clashes intensified between ISIS and Kurds in the Syrian town.

Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat on Tuesday, Mustafa Bali, a spokesman for Free Media Union—a Kurdish media group covering the fight in Kobani—reported “violent clashes taking place in the eastern side of the town,” with the Islamist fighters still trying to infiltrate Kobani.

Clashes had intensified on the outskirts of the town, Bali said, maintaining that “there will be good news in the next few hours.”

ISIS militants tried to enter the city from the western side in the early hours of Tuesday by firing around 25 shells, most of which fell on the Turkish side, he added.

The spokesman ruled out any decision to withdraw from the town or surrender on the part of the Kurdish militants. “[Kurds] are determined to fight [ISIS] until the end,” he said.

As for the humanitarian condition in the city, the spokesman described the situation as “miserable,” with residents suffering an acute shortages of water, medical supplies, electricity and baby formula.

Also on Tuesday, the Turkish parliament postponed a debate on a motion that, if passed, would allow Turkey to take military action in Syria to contain the threat of ISIS.

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç said a parliamentary mandate for military action in Syria will cover “all possible threats,” warning that ISIS militants are advancing on the tomb of Suleyman Shah, the grandfather of the founder of the Ottoman Empire.

Despite being in Syria, the mausoleum is considered Turkish territory under a treaty dating back to the 1920s. It is located close to the war-torn Syrian city of Aleppo, 19 miles (30 km) from the Turkish border, and is guarded by Turkish soldiers.

A key meeting was held on Tuesday between Turkish intelligence service chief Hakan Fidan and several military commanders. The meeting discussed potential military action in Syria and the “risks posed to Turkey by the clashes near the border,” a source who spoke on the condition of anonymity told Asharq Al-Awsat.

Turkey’s council of ministers is expected to resubmit the motion to the parliament on Thursday.

Thair Abbas contributed reporting from Beirut.