ISIS: 'airstrikes alone won't save Kobani', Pentagon

US dismayed at Turkey's inaction against jihadists

08 October, 20:08

    (ANSAmed) - NEW YORK, OCTOBER 8 - Pentagon spokesman Admiral John Kirby said Wednesday that the US was doing what it could to stop the advance of the Islamic State (ISIS), but that airstrikes alone would not save the city of Kobani, in northern Syria.

    The Kurdish city, known as Ayn Al-Arab in Arabic, has been besieged for the past three weeks by the jihadist group. The admission confirms reports from on the ground, where Wednesday's airstrikes hit ISIS positions on a hill near the city but failed to knock down the jihadists' flag flying on it, and where fighting continues in the streets. Despite expectations that it would intervene, Turkey has still not taken any military action against the group trying to take the city along its southern border. The US has expressed frustration over Turkey's lack of action against ISIS.

    ''Even as it stepped up airstrikes against the militants Tuesday, the Obama administration was frustrated by what it regards as Turkey's excuses for not doing more militarily.

    Officials note, for example, that the American-led coalition, with its heavy rotation of flights and airstrikes, has effectively imposed a no-fly zone over northern Syria already, so Mr. Erdogan's demand for such a zone rings hollow,'' writes the New York Times.

    Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has resisted pleas for military involvement by saying that a no-fly zone would be needed first.

    The daily quotes an unnamed senior official as saying that ''there's growing angst about Turkey dragging its feet to act to prevent a massacre less than a mile from its border. After all the fulminating about Syria's humanitarian catastrophe, they're inventing reasons not to act to avoid another catastrophe.'' At least 40 ISIS fighters were killed by US-led international coalition airstrikes Wednesday on 20 of the jihadists' positions around Kobani.

    The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reports that ISIS forces were thus forced to pull back but continue fighting.

    Protests meanwhile continued across Turkey against Ankara's lack of military support for fighters trying to prevent ISIS from taking Kobani. Tension rose especially in the southeastern provinces and a curfew was imposed in the city of Diyarbakir. Some 172,000 Kobani residents have been registered in Turkish refugee camps, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) was quoted by the MENA news agency as saying. After speaking over the phone to his Turkish counterpart on Wednesday, French president Francois Hollande said he supported the creation of a buffer zone between Syria and Turkey to protect civilians fleeing ISIS. The proposal, initially put forward by Turkey, has met with a cool reception from the US. Secretary of State John Kerry said that the idea of creating a buffer zone in Syria along the border for refugees would have to undergo ''thorough examination'' before being taken into consideration.

    French president Francois Hollande expressed his support for the idea on Wednesday, while a Pentagon spokesman said that it was not one of the options currently being weighed. The fighting meanwhile continues in Kobani. (ANSAmed).

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