|Kristina Fernandez |||Oct 06, 2014 10:59 PM EDT|
(Photo : Reuters / Murad Sezer) Turkish soldiers stand guard near Mursitpinar border crossing as smoke rises in the Syrian town of Kobani, seen from near the southeastern town of Suruc in Sanliurfa province, October 3, 2014.
The Islamic State (IS) militants are inches away from seizing key strategic town of Kobani following a three-week siege that has led Kurdish fighters scrambling to protect the distraught city as coalition airstrikes continue to bomb IS targets in the area with very little impact.
The weekend has seen Kurd militiamen combating the militants' bloody advance from three fronts, while overnight airstrikes have reportedly targeted some vehicles and six unidentified key positions northwest of Raqqa.
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After days of fighting in the outskirts of Kobani, about 2,000 IS fighters pushed into the city's eastern side late Monday and half of the town fell into IS control, Turkey's state news agency reported. This follows the heaviest shelling of the town yet since mid-September when the jihadists began their advance.
Kurdish authorities on Sunday called on the international community, particularly the U.S. and the European Union, for support. They said civilians must be protected from the onslaught, the Kurdish Firat news agency said in a report.
About 3,000 civilians were left behind in Kobani, while around 180,000 refugees have already fled into Turkey as fighting reached the town, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.
Kurdish forces continue to hold up the city's defense, but a city spokesman predicted Kobani will fall soon, the Belfast Telegraph reported.
On Sunday, a female Kurdish female fighter known for her military name, Arin Mirkan, blew herself up along with 10 IS jihadists in a heroic bid to halt the militants' advance.
The Islamic State militants are seeking to expand the caliphate they have declared in June in territories stretching across Syria and northern Iraq. As they advance into Kobani, IS forces are also gaining ground in western Baghdad where they threaten to close down Iraq's international airport, the Belfast Telegraph stated.
The U.S.-led international coalition have repeatedly launched air raids against Islamic State positions, although neither the airstrikes nor the Turkish forces stationed just across the border from Kobani have prevented IS's forceful advance.
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