Tue | Dec 6, 2016

Syria death toll climbs

Published:Monday | October 27, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Syrian-Kurdish refugees from Kobani watch fighting across the border in Kobani from a hilltop on the outskirts of Suruc, Turkey, near the Turkey-Syria border, yesterday. AP

MURSITPINAR (AP): A Syrian activist group said yesterday that the death toll in 40 days of fighting in and around the northern Syrian border town of Kobani has reached 815, as Kurdish fighters battled Muslim militants for a hill west of the town.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the death toll includes 21 Kurdish civilians and 302 fighters, with the main Kurdish force known as the Peoples Protection Units, or YPG. It said 481 fighters with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group have been killed since the battles began.

ISIS fighters launched a wide offensive on Kobani in mid-September capturing dozens of Kurdish villages and entering parts of the town. The attack has displaced more than 200,000 people who crossed for safety in Turkey.

On Saturday, ISIS launched an attack on a Kurdish-held neighborhood in Kobani without succeeding in advancing, the Observatory said. It added that seven ISIS fighters were killed, as well as several YPG fighters.

An Associated Press reporter on the Turkish side of the border said occasional mortar fire could be heard in the centre and west of the town, as well as occasional gunfire. At least one airstrike was carried out by the United States (US)-led coalition.

Airstrikes

The US Central Command said in a statement that five airstrikes near Kobani destroyed seven ISIS vehicles and an ISIS building. It said the five airstrikes were conducted on Saturday and Sunday.

Last week, the US Central Command said that its forces conducted more than 135 airstrikes against the militants in and around Kobani, killing hundreds of ISIS fighters.

Idriss Nassan, a Kurdish official from Kobani, said the fighting concentrated Sunday on the Izaa hill, west of the town. That area is close to the strategic Tel Shair hill, which overlooks parts of the town. Kurdish fighters recently regained control of the Tel Shair hill.

"The units (YPG) are advancing slowly on the eastern and southern fronts," Nassan said. "The situation is relatively calm compared with yesterday."

The Observatory said YPG fighters attacked two ISIS vehicles west of Kobani yesterday inflicting casualties among jihadis.

Talbiseh was one of the first towns to rise up against President Bashar Assad's government after the uprising that later turned into a civil war began in March 2011. The war has killed more than 190,000 people, according to the United Nations.