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Islamic State fighting inside Kobane

A video released by an unofficial news organization affiliated with the Islamic State shows the group's fighters in heavy street-to-street fighting inside Kobane. The video shows fighters breaking down walls leading into streets and the walls of houses, as well as firing on Kurdish positions.

The Islamic State has been battling forces from the PKK-linked People's Protection Units, or YPG, for control of the Syrian town. Previous reporting by The Long War Journal noted that this assault began two weeks ago when the Islamic State initiated a new attack on the city after failing to take it back in July. According to some Kurdish activists on Twitter, the offensive has been three-pronged, with Islamic State forces attacking Kobane from the east, south, and west of the city. [See Threat Matrix report, Islamic State advances near Kobane.]

Previous reporting by the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) details that the Islamic State has gained control of over 325 villages and towns surrounding Kobane in northern Syria. SOHR is now reporting that the jihadist group controls around "40% of Ayn al Arab [the Arabic name for Kobane]" itself.

The Islamic State's advance takes place as the US and allied nations have increased the number of airstrikes near Kobane. The United States, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates have launched 16 airstrikes near Kobane in the past two days. However, SOHR notes that "[Coalition airstrikes] have not prevented IS fighters from bringing munitions from the countryside of Aleppo and al Raqqa where more military enhancements have arrived to the city without targeting them by the Coalition warplanes."

[Source: By Caleb Weiss, Threat Matrix, The Long War Journal, NJ, 10Oct14]

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