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Turkish tanks reinforce border as Islamic State shells Syrian town

Reuters , Monday 29 Sep 2014
Turkish tanks roll to take positions along the Turkey-Syria border near Suruc, Turkey, Monday, Sept. 29, 2014 (Photo: AP)
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Turkish tanks and armoured vehicles took up positions on a hill overlooking the besieged Syrian border town of Kobani on Monday as shelling by Islamic State insurgents intensified and stray fire hit Turkish soil, a Reuters correspondent said.

At least 15 tanks were positioned, some with their guns pointed towards Syrian territory, near a Turkish military base just northwest of Kobani. Plumes of smoke rose up as shells hit both the eastern and western sides of Kobani.

More tanks and armoured vehicles moved towards the Syrian border after at least two shells hit Turkish territory on Monday. The military said earlier it had fired back on Sunday after two mortar bombs crossed the border.

Islamic State insurgents launched their assault on Kobani, a predominantly Kurdish town also known as Ayn al-Arab, more than a week ago, besieging it from three sides and sending more than 150,000 Kurds fleeing into Turkey.

"Because of the bombs everyone is running away, we've heard people have been killed. The YPG (Kurdish forces) have got small weapons but Islamic State has big guns and tanks," said Xelil, a 39-year old engineer who fled Kobani on Monday.

"Most people are leaving now, it was safe before but now with these bombs, people won't stay," he said.

Turkey has so far declined to take a frontline role in the U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State, but President Tayyip Erdogan has said Turkish troops could be used to help set up a safe haven for refugees inside Syria if there is international agreement.

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