Turkish soldiers on a tank sit opposite the Syrian town of Ain al-Arab, known as Kobane by the Kurds, at the Turkish-Syrian border in the southeastern Turkish village of Mursitpinar, Sanliurfa province, on October 11, 2014.
Turkish soldiers on a tank sit opposite the Syrian town of Ain al-Arab, known as Kobane by the Kurds, at the Turkish-Syrian border in the southeastern Turkish village of Mursitpinar, Sanliurfa province, on October 11, 2014. AFP PHOTO / ARIS MESSINIS

Civilians trapped as IS surrounds Kurdish troops

ISIS militants are encircling Kurdish fighters defending the besieged town of Kobani, where hundreds of civilians remain trapped.

Kurdish forces are struggling to repel the advance of Islamist militants on the Syria-Turkey border town, who on Friday seized the Kurdish security quarter.

Kurdish official Ismet Sheikh Hasan appealed for international help in defending the town, describing the situation as "dire".

"There are air strikes, but they are not that effective. It has been 26 days we have been resisting," he told the Associated Press. "We want the international community and the United Nations to support us."

He also urged Turkey to open a corridor that would allow remaining civilians to leave Kobani and arms supplies to enter the town.

On Friday, the UN Syria envoy warned the hundreds still trapped in Kobani will be "massacred" by militants if the town falls, where only a small corridor remains open for people to flee. More than 200,000 have already escaped across the border to Turkey but up to 700 remain inside the town.

On Saturday, more than 20,000 Kurdish immigrants took to the streets of Germany in protest against Isis's onslaught against Kobani.

The battle to save Kobani from falling into the hands of Isis has raged for two weeks despite US-led coalition attacks on militant targets in and around the town.

Capturing Kobani, also known under its Arabic name of Ayn Arab, would give the group a direct link between its positions in the Syrian province of Aleppo and its stronghold of Raqqa, to the east.

UN WARNS 500 TRAPPED CIVILIANS 'COULD BE MASSACRED'

It would also crush a lingering pocket of Kurdish resistance and give the group full control of a large stretch of the Turkish-Syrian border.

The director of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Rami Abdurrahman, said the town's Kurdish fighters "are putting up a fierce fight" but are outgunned by Isis fighters.



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