An explosion in Kobane on Wednesday.
KOBANE – Islamic State militants have recaptured a village on a strategic hill overlooking the besieged city of Kobane, according to eyewitnesses on Thursday.
Fighting began at midnight in Tel Shahir, five kilometers east of Kobane, which fell to the ISIS fighters at 6am Thursday morning. Some witnesses who were near the battle said the village was being defended by both the mainstream Free Syria Army (FSA) and forces from the local Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).
The witnesses said it was a large-scale attack, and that ISIS had brought in fresh reinforcements from bases in Jarabulus, west of Kobane, and from its unofficial capital of Raqqa to the southwest. Fighting was continuing.
Milos Mustafa Bozan, a taxi driver present in the area, told Rudaw that ISIS had fired on a number of civilians fleeing the area, and that three had suffered gunshot wounds. He said civilians were crowding at the Turkish border but had not been allowed to cross.
ISIS has laid siege to Kobane for over a month, driving out most of the areas 200,000 civilians. The city was dangerously close to falling before days of intense airstrikes from mid-October stalled their advance.
Brigades from the Free Syria Army, an alliance of groups supported by an international anti-ISIS coalition, have joined local Syrian Kurdish fighters to defend the city.
An American airlift dropped weapons, ammunition, and medical supplies to YPG positions on Sunday.
On Wednesday the Kurdish parliament agreed for a unit of heavily armed Peshmerga forces to support the militias currently in Kobane, but it will take days for these forces to arrive.