IS kills more than 140 civilians in Syria's Kobane

IS kills more than 140 civilians in Syria's Kobane
A fresh IS group offensive on the northern Syrian cities of Kobane and Hassakah have left more than a hundred civilians dead, and thousands more homeless.
3 min read
26 June, 2015
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In what has been described as "a Biblical scene" of exodus, more than a thousand desperate would-be refugees have been stranded on the Syrian side of the Turkish border.

Guards watched the group that had amassed at the wire frontier, while their relatives on the Turkish side watched on in despair. 

The group had fled for their lives, as fierce street battles between the Islamic State group and Kurdish fighters erupted once again in the city of Kobane.

"When they entered the town, the jihadists took up positions in buildings at the southeast and southwest entrances, firing at everything that moved," said Abdel Rahman, director of the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.


Reports of massacres by IS fighters have thrown the northern Syrian city - just yards from the Turkish border -into a state of pandemonium.

A thousand Syrians are trying to reach safety in Turkey [AFP]

Around 120 civilians were killed by IS fighters, or in rocket and sniper fire, on Friday, the Syrian Observatory reported.

The latest deaths folow those of 26 Kurdish villagers, who were killed by the IS group on Thursday.

Bodies of women and children have been found strewn across streets and in their homes, Rahman said. Another group of civilians were reportedly taken hostage by the extremist group.

"They came just to kill and strike a moral blow against the Kurds," Rahman added.

On Thursday, IS launched a surprise assault on Kobane, attacking defensive positions with car bombs and fighters disguised as rebel fighters.

Kurdish politicians have alleged that IS launched its assault from Turkish territory, although this was angrily denied by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Large parts of Kobane were occupied by IS fighters, until Kurdish forces backed by coalition aircraft recaptured the city five months ago.

The city was left largely obliterated from bombing and clashes.

IS counter-attack

The attack on Kobane comes just a week after IS were on the defensive, as rebel and Kurdish fighters took the city of Tal Abyad, closing in on the IS' de facto capital, Raqqa.

Read more: Kurds seize Syria's Tal Abyad from Islamic State group [16 June]

Although IS was weakened by its main supply route being cut by the rebel forces, its fresh attack on Kobane shows that it is far from beaten.

The extremist group has also launched a fresh campaign on Hassakah city in northwest Syria.

Fierce clashes between IS fighters and government troops ended with regime forces being routed from two neighbourhoods of the city.

According to the UN, the fighting has displaced 60,000 people in Hasakah, with the Syrian observatory predicting that 200,000 civilians might leave the city.

The group reported that 2,000 residents are trapped in their homes, while clashes continue.

Regime airstrikes followed in the city, while aerial raids also hit Homs, Latakia, Aleppo and other rebel-held towns.

In the past 36 hours, Damascus is thought to have launched 123 air raids on the rebel-controlled province of Idlib alone.

In Daraa, regime forces are also facing "the storm of the south" rebel offensive.

Rebel groups and the al-Qaeda-aligned Nusra Front this week launched a new campaign to capture Daraa city, and have wrested control of five major checkpoints from regime troops.

Meanwhile, IS also released a video yesterday showing the beheading of 12 Jaish al-Islam fighters in an area suspected to be in the Damascus countryside.

A man appearing in the video holding a knife called on the anti-Assad Jaish al-Islam leader, Zahran Alloush, to "repent", before beheading the captured militants.

In Qalamoun, west of Damascus, rebel group Jaish al-Islam has been battling IS and regime troops.