MURSITPINAR, Turkey — Islamic State fighters launched a new offensive on the northern Syrian
town of Kobani today after shelling the area from their positions nearby, activists and a Kurdish
Heavy fighting took place in Kobani this afternoon, and many mortar shells were fired into the
town. Machine-gun fire could be clearly heard from inside the town, where black smoke was
The U.S. Central Command said an airstrike destroyed an Islamic State artillery piece near
Kobani. In the afternoon, warplanes of the U.S.-led coalition were heard flying over the city.
Idriss Nassan, a senior official in Kobani, said the fighting concentrated on the southern and
eastern edges of the town, also known as Ayn Arab.
“They think they can enter the city and these are just dreams,” Nassan said by telephone.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the fighting concentrated on the
eastern side of the town, surrounded on three sides by Islamic State fighters. It said the fighters
were spreading reports in areas under their control that they will take Kobani soon.
Islamic State launched its offensive on Kobani in mid-September and captured dozens of villages
before entering parts of the town. The fighting has forced 200,000 people to flee to neighboring
Last week, the U.S. Central Command said its forces conducted more than 135 airstrikes against
the militants in and around Kobani, killing hundreds of fighters.
The Observatory and Aleppo-based activist Ahmad al-Ahmad, via Skype, said the area near the
northern village of Handarat witnessed intense clashes between Syrian rebels and government
Government forces are trying to cut a main road linking rebel-held neighborhoods of Aleppo,
Syria’s largest city, with those in the countryside, Al-Ahmad said.
The Observatory said the fighting near Handarat has left 15 soldiers and pro-government gunmen
dead as well as 12 militants, since early today.
In Iraq today, government forces made gains in a strategic area near Baghdad, and Kurdish
fighters retook a northern town after heavy coalition air strikes against the Sunni insurgents.
Iraqi troops seized most of Jurf al-Sakhar, the biggest advance in months of battles against
Islamic State in the town about 40 miles south of Baghdad, senior local officials said.
A victory could allow Iraqi authorities to prevent the insurgents from edging closer to the
capital and maintaining connections to their strongholds in Anbar province as well as infiltrating
Information from Reuters was included in this story.