SURUC, Turkey: Islamic State jihadists captured the headquarters Friday of Kurdish fighters defending the Syrian border town of Kobane, with a UN envoy warning thousands would likely be massacred if it falls to them.
Outgunned Kurdish militia were struggling to prevent the jihadists closing off the last escape route for civilians still in the area, prompting an appeal for urgent military assistance.
US-led warplanes have intensified air strikes against IS, which has been attacking Kobane for three weeks, but the Pentagon has warned that, without a ground force to work with, there are limits to what can be done.
Neighbouring Turkey has so far refrained from any action against the jihadists on its doorstep, despite four straight nights of protests among its own large Kurdish minority that have left 31 people dead.
The jihadists’ advance has brought the front line to just 1.3 kilometres (little more than three-quarters of a mile) from the border.
IS now controls 40 percent of Kobane, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.