United States-led coalition forces have carried out sustained air attacks on Islamic State fighters closing in on the Syrian border town of Kobani, after Turkey’s president warned it was about to fall into the insurgents’ hands.
At least 400 people have died in three weeks of fighting for Kobani and 160,000 Syrians have fled across the border to Turkey, BBC News reported.
In his speech on a visit to a refugee camp for Syrians on Tuesday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said air power alone could not defeat the Islamist fighters.
“We had warned the West. We wanted three things: no-fly zone, a secure zone parallel to that, and the training of moderate Syrian rebels,” Erdogan was quoted as saying.
“The terror will not be over… unless we co-operate for a ground operation.”
In at least six cities in Turkey, Kurds held protests against the government’s lack of military support for the defenders of Kobani. At least nine people were killed.
Sympathy demonstrations were staged in Brussels, Berlin and other German cities.
The US military confirmed five air strikes were launched in Kobani on Monday and Tuesday. The attacks had destroyed four Islamic State armed vehicles and an “IS unit”, and damaged one tank and one armored vehicle.
The BBC said more air strikes were heard on Tuesday afternoon, bringing the total to eight for the day.
As a result, fighting in the city had subsided, the report said, adding that the town was quiet but for occasional crackles of gunfire in the afternoon.
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