MURSITPINAR Turkey/BEIRUT (Reuters) – Iraqi Kurdish forces have blunted but not broken the siege of the Syrian border town of Kobani, a week after arriving to great fanfare with heavy weapons and fighters in a bid to save it from Islamic State.
Kobani has become a test of the U.S.-led coalition’s ability to halt the advance of the Sunni Muslim insurgents. The town is one of few areas in Syria where it can co-ordinate air strikes with operations by an effective ground force.
The arrival of the Iraqi Kurd peshmerga, or “those who face death,” with armoured vehicles and artillery, has enabled them to shell Islamic State positions around Kobani and take back some villages.
But the front lines in the town itself are little changed, its eastern part still controlled by the insurgents, and the west still largely held by the main Syrian Kurdish armed group, the YPG, and allied fighters.
“There is no change at all in Kobani as a result of the peshmerga. Maybe one or two streets are gained then lost, back and forth,” said Rami Abdulrahman of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the war.
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