Kurdish YPG fighters are making a last stand of defence against militants form the Islamic State, who have broken Kurdish defences and entered Kobane after a three week siege.
YPG fighters evacuated thousands of civilians from the city of Kobane on the Syria-Turkey border on Monday, as clashes with IS militants escalated.
IS militants have besieged Kobane for three weeks, using US-made heavy weapons stolen from the Iraqi army to bombard the city and wear down YPG defences.
Reporting from a viewpoint on Kobane from over the border in Turkey, Arabic Al Aan TV journalist Jenan Moussa described the frustration of one Kurdish man from the city, who said:
“We hoped American planes will help us. Instead American tanks in hands of ISIS are killing us”
BBC reporter Paul Adams described the situation:
“As the sun goes down, Kobane is being pounded. Constant explosions and gunfire”
Earlier today, IS militants were reported to have broken through YPG defences using booby-trapped cars, allowing militants to enter the city from the east and the west.
Militants have raised two black flags on buildings on the outskirts of the city, but YPG fighters are prepared for a building-to-building urban battle. One female Kurdish fighter is reported to have blown herself up in defence of the city.
US Central Command said that it carried out nine air strikes near Kobane on Saturday and Sunday, but they had little discernible impact on the advancing IS forces coming from the east, south, and west of the city. A single air strike on an IS position near Kobane was reported on Monday.
The Kobane government has appealed to the international community for more substantial help in repelling the IS fighters, and warned of a massacre if they take the city:
“We are calling out to all the international powers, forces from Kurdistan, and Kurdish public that ISIS thugs must be stopped and thousands of civilians must be saved from massacre.
“International powers and public will also be responsible for a probable massacre.”
The leader of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), Salih Muslim, has also personally appealed for further assistance:
“The US bombed some of the ISIS positions around Kobane, but these were not enough.
“The US is not serious. If the US were serious, they would not do it like that. They would have repelled these [IS forces] completely.
“Whatever is going to be done must be done right now.”
Well-equipped Turkish military units patrol the Syria-Turkey border, but have not intervened to save Kobane from IS advances despite Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu previously promising:
“We will do everything possible to help the people of Kobani because they are our brothers and sisters”
Meanwhile, hundreds of protesters have taken to the streets in Istanbul to demonstrate in solidarity with the citizens of Kobane and against the lack of Turkish intervention. The protesters have clashed with police who have used tear gas and riot gear in an attempt to disperse the crowds.
— Occupied Taksim (@OccupiedTaksim) October 6, 2014
TOMAlar ve kitle üzerinde dolaşan helikoptere rağmen Taksim'deki kitle artmaya devam ediyor. pic.twitter.com/Qdsw7ayS4Y
— DirenÜniversite (@DirenUniversite) October 6, 2014
Elsewhere, Kurds across Europe have staged sit-ins and protests to raise awareness about the deteriorating situation in Kobane.
In London, a number of protests have sprung up, including the occupation of the Oxford Circus tube station, and demonstrations outside the US embassy and at Wood Green.
— Fosforlu Cevriye ♁ (@jin_jiyan_azadi) October 6, 2014
— @Hevallo (@Hevallo) October 6, 2014
— ShenGal ROJAVA (@Xunavmerdin) October 5, 2014
Protesters have also occupied part of the Dutch parliament in The Hague, blockaded the the streets surrounding the Austrian parliament in Vienna, forming a sit-in on the streets of Basel, Switzerland, and chanting within in airports in Stockholm and Copenhagen
Koerden in de Tweede Kamer tegen IS pic.twitter.com/wDIWLYFNIM
— David van Dam (@Daphid) October 6, 2014
— Jean Samsa (@JeanSamsa) October 6, 2014
isviçre Basel'de yüzlerce kişi Kobanê'nin sesi olup Avrupa'ya haykırıyor… pic.twitter.com/IeCRQ5EruQ
— dilsar bagok (@dilsarbagok) October 6, 2014
— fahrî akın (@fhrakin) October 6, 2014