MURSITPINAR: Advancing Islamic State fighters seized a third of the Syrian border town of Kobane Thursday despite US-led air strikes, as Turkey rejected sending troops in against the jihadists on its own.
In fighting that killed dozens, calls grew for ground action to support Kobane’s beleaguered Kurdish defenders.
But after talks with NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Ankara could not be expected to act alone.
“It’s not realistic to expect that Turkey will lead a ground operation on its own,” he said.
Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Amir Abdollahian, whose country is a close ally of the Syrian regime, said Tehran was in talks with Turkey on saving Kobane “and we hope it can play an important role”.
Ankara is under pressure over its inaction, and protests in Kurdish areas of Turkey have sparked deadly clashes.
Kobane, where Kurdish militia are still holding out after a three-week siege by the jihadists, has become a crucial battleground in the fight against IS.
With the global media gathered just across the border in Turkey, its conquest would be a highly visible symbolic victory for the extremists.
The US-led coalition launched a fresh air strike on eastern Kobane on Thursday evening, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
Hours earlier, the US military said five strikes were carried out in Kobane on Wednesday and Thursday, hitting two IS combat units, destroying a support building and two vehicles, and damaging a training camp.
“Indications are that Kurdish militia there continue to control most of the city and are holding out against ISIL,” it said, using an alternative acronym for IS.