War enters Syrian town

SURUC, Turkey – Islamic State jihadists have penetrated the key Syrian border town of Kobane, sparking street fighting with its Kurdish defenders after a three-week siege.

“Urban guerilla warfare has started and the fighting is taking place for the first time in districts at the eastern entrance to Kobane, in Maqtala al-Jadida and Kani Arabane,” Syrian Observatory for Human Rights head Rami Abdel Rahman said on Monday.

“The jihadists and the Kurds are clashing in the streets, between apartment buildings,” sending hundreds of civilians into flight towards the Turkish border, he said.

Witnesses on the Turkish border reported two black Islamic State (IS) flags flying on Kobane’s eastern side earlier on Monday. The advances came after IS fighters seized part of Mishtenur Hill, which overlooks Kobane, at the weekend, although US-led air strikes tried to slow the jihadists.

The Observatory said at least 20 jihadists were killed late on Sunday when they entered an eastern neighbourhood and were ambushed by Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) fighters.

In a sign of mounting desperation, a Kurdish female fighter blew herself up at an IS position east of Kobane on Sunday, the Observatory said.

It was the first reported instance of a female Kurdish fighter employing a tactic often used by the jihadists, said the Britain-based monitor, which has a wide network of sources inside Syria.

The bomber, in her 20s, was a full-time YPG fighter identified as Dilar Gencxemis, alias Arin Mirkan, from Kurdish-controlled Afrin in northwestern Syria.