Senior correspondent
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Oct 16, 2014

With Syria at war, can Turkey and Ocalan still bring Kurds peace?

ISTANBUL/SURUC Turkey (Reuters) – As southeast Turkey’s Kurds rioted last week in fury at Ankara’s refusal to rescue the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobani from advancing Islamists, it was to Abdullah Ocalan that Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu turned for help.

Sitting in jail on the windswept island where he has spent the last 15 years, Ocalan wields more power as a peacemaker than he ever did as the guerrilla commander leading a Kurdish insurgency in which 40,000 people have died.

Oct 15, 2014

U.S.-led air strikes intensify as Syria conflict destabilizes Turkey

MURSITPINAR Turkey/ISTANBUL (Reuters) – American-led forces have sharply intensified air strikes in the past two days against Islamic State fighters threatening Kurds on Syria’s Turkish border after the jihadists’ advance began to destabilize Turkey.

The coalition had conducted 21 attacks on the militants near the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobani over Monday and Tuesday and appeared to have slowed Islamic State advances there, the U.S. military said, but cautioned the situation remained fluid.

Oct 14, 2014

Mideast violence spreads as Turkey bombs Kurdish militants

ISTANBUL/SURUC Turkey (Reuters) – War against Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq threatened to spill into Turkey on Tuesday, where reports emerged that the air force had bombed Kurdish fighters furious at Ankara’s refusal to help protect their kin in Syria.

At least 35 people were killed in riots last week when members of Turkey’s 15-million-strong Kurdish minority rose up in anger at the government for refusing to help defend the Syrian border town of Kobani from an Islamic State assault.

Oct 10, 2014

Islamic State seizes large areas of Syrian town despite air strikes

MURSITPINAR Turkey/BEIRUT (Reuters) – Islamic State fighters seized more than a third of the Syrian border town of Kobani, a monitoring group said on Thursday, as U.S.-led air strikes failed to halt their advance and Turkish forces looked on without intervening.

With Washington ruling out a ground operation in Syria, Turkey said it was unrealistic to expect it to mount a cross-border operation alone to relieve the mainly Kurdish town.

Oct 9, 2014

Kurds bury Kobani dead in makeshift graves over border

SURUC Turkey (Reuters) – They died after fighting to defend Kobani. But such is the control Islamic State has around the Syrian Kurdish border town, their families have no idea when they might be able to get back to give them a proper burial there.

Instead, the Kurdish fighters have been laid to rest in hastily dug graves in Turkey, some 10 km over the border from the town they fought to save from the jihadists closing in.

Oct 9, 2014

Islamic State seizes one third of Syrian town Kobani – monitor

MURSITPINAR Turkey/BEIRUT (Reuters) – Islamic State fighters have seized more than a third of the Syrian border town of Kobani despite U.S.-led air strikes targeting them in and around the mainly Kurdish community, a monitoring group said on Thursday.

The commander of Kobani’s heavily outgunned Kurdish defenders said Islamic State controlled a slightly smaller area. However, he acknowledged that the militants had made major gains in the culmination of a three-week battle that has also led to the worst streets clashes in years between police and Kurdish protesters across the frontier in southeast Turkey.

Oct 9, 2014

Renewed assault on Kobani; 21 dead in Turkey as Kurds rise

MURSITPINAR Turkey/ANKARA (Reuters) – Islamic State fighters launched a renewed assault on the Syrian city of Kobani on Wednesday night, and at least 21 people were killed in riots in neighbouring Turkey where Kurds rose up against the government for doing nothing to protect their kin.

Heavily outgunned defenders said Islamic State militants had pushed into two districts of the mainly Kurdish border city late on Wednesday, despite U.S.-led air strikes that the Pentagon acknowledged would probably not be enough to safeguard the town.

Oct 8, 2014

Kurds say air strikes push Islamic State back from Kobani

MURSITPINAR Turkey/ANKARA (Reuters) – U.S.-led air strikes on Wednesday pushed Islamic State fighters back to the edges of the Syrian Kurdish border town of Kobani, which they had appeared set to seize after a three-week assault, local officials said.

The town has become the focus of international attention since the Islamists’ advance drove 180,000 of the area’s mostly Kurdish inhabitants to flee into adjoining Turkey, which has infuriated its own restive Kurdish minority — and its NATO partners in Washington — by refusing to intervene.

Oct 8, 2014

Turkey says Syria town about to fall as Islamic State advances

MURSITPINAR Turkey/BEIRUT (Reuters) – Turkey’s president said the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobani was “about to fall” on Tuesday as Islamic State fighters pressed home a three-week assault that has cost a reported 400 lives and forced thousands to flee their homes.

The prospect that the town could be captured by Islamic State, who are now within city limits, has increased pressure on Turkey to join an international coalition to fight against the jihadists.

Oct 7, 2014

Islamic State moves into south west of Syrian Kurdish town

MURSITPINAR Turkey/BEIRUT (Reuters) – Islamic State fighters advanced into the south west of the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobani overnight, a monitoring group said on Tuesday, taking several buildings to gain attacking positions from two sides of the city.

From across the nearby Turkish border two Islamic State flags could be seen flying over the eastern side of Kobani. Two air strikes hit the area and sporadic gunfire could be heard.

    • About Daren

      "I am based in Istanbul where I cover a broad range of financial and general news. I joined Reuters in Ankara in 1996 and left Turkey to work in London in 2000. I returned to Istanbul in 2003."
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