Syria's Kobane will not fall: US-led coalition chief

AFP , Wednesday 29 Oct 2014

U.S. General John Allen (Photo:Reuters)

The coordinator of the US-led coalition against the Islamic State group voiced confidence Wednesday that Iraqi Kurdish reinforcements would stop the jihadists capturing the Syrian town of Kobane.

"We don't think Kobane is about to fall in the hands of ISIS," retired US general John Allen told Al-Arabiya television, using an alternative acronym for IS.

"The entrance of peshmerga fighters will prevent that," he said, referring to Iraqi Kurdish fighters who are in Turkey waiting to deploy to the Syrian border town.

Under heavy US pressure, Turkey announced last week it would allow fighters from Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region to travel through its territory to reinforce Kobane's beleaguered Syrian Kurdish defenders.

Flashing victory signs, the fighters, armed with machineguns, heavy artillery and rocket launchers, received a euphoric welcome from Turkish Kurds who lined the road shouting "Long live peshmerga!"

The town has become a symbol of the battle against IS, an extremist Sunni Muslim group that has seized swathes of Syria and Iraq, committing atrocities and declaring an Islamic "caliphate".

US warplanes carried out eight air raids near Kobane on Tuesday and Wednesday that targeted vehicles, a building and several IS fighting positions, the US military said.

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