ISTANBUL/BEIRUT (Reuters) – A senior Syrian Kurdish official on Friday denied a report from Turkey’s president that Syrian Kurds had agreed to let 1,300 Free Syrian Army fighters enter the border town of Kobani to help defend it against besieging Islamic State insurgents.
President Tayyip Erdogan has long championed the relatively secular Free Syrian Army in the complicated, faction-ridden insurgency against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and has repeatedly advocated FSA intervention in Kobani.
BEIRUT (Reuters) – Iraqi pilots who have joined Islamic State in Syria are training members of the group to fly in three captured fighter jets, a group monitoring the war said on Friday, saying it was the first time the militant group had taken to the air.
The group, which has seized swathes of land in Syria and Iraq, has been flying the planes over the captured al-Jarrah military airport east of Aleppo, said Rami Abdulrahman, who runs the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
BEIRUT (Reuters) – Iraqi pilots who have joined Islamic State in Syria are training members of the group to fly in three captured fighter jets, a group monitoring the war said on Friday, saying it was the first time that the militant group had taken to the air.
The group, which has seized land in Syria and Iraq, has been flying the planes over the captured al-Jarrah military airport east of Aleppo, said Rami Abdulrahman, who runs the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
MURSITPINAR Turkey / BEIRUT (Reuters) – Kurdish forces battled overnight with Islamists trying to seize a hill overlooking a Syrian border town with Turkey as U.S.-led coalition warplanes carried out raids on the militants, a Kurdish official and a monitoring group said on Sunday.
A translator with the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) inside Kobani said Islamic State forces were hitting it with tank and mortar fire as they tried to seize Mistanour hill, a landmark whose capture would give them easy access to the town.
MURSITPINAR/BEIRUT (Reuters) – Islamic State forces shelled the Syrian border town of Kobani on Saturday and its Kurdish defenders said they were expecting a new assault to try to capture it.
U.S.-led coalition warplanes had struck at Islamic State targets overnight to halt the insurgents’ advance and Saturday’s barrages were less intense than the previous day.
MURSITPINAR/BEIRUT (Reuters) – U.S.-led coalition war planes attacked Islamic State targets around the Syrian border town of Kobani overnight as the insurgents pressed their assault against its Kurdish defenders, a monitoring group and witnesses said.
Previous coalition air strikes have failed to stop the insurgent offensive on the predominantly-Kurdish Kobani and the outgunned Kurdish fighters have put up a desperate fight as shells rained down on the town over the past week.
WASHINGTON/BEIRUT (Reuters) – Islamic State militants fighting in Iraq and Syria posted a video on Friday that appeared to show the beheading of British aid worker Alan Henning, triggering condemnation by the British and U.S. governments.
The footage on YouTube, highlighted on pro-Islamic State Twitter feeds, showed a bearded man in an orange jumpsuit kneeling next to a black-clad man in arid scrubland, similar to past Islamic State beheading videos of two American journalists and a British aid worker.
WASHINGTON/BEIRUT (Reuters) – Islamic State militants fighting in Iraq and Syria released a video on Friday that purported to show the beheading of a man it identified as British citizen Alan Henning.
The footage on YouTube, which was linked to on pro-Islamic State Twitter feeds, showed a man in an orange jumpsuit kneeling in a landscape who was identified as Henning.
BEIRUT (Reuters) – As U.S. warplanes bomb his enemies in Syria’s east, President Bashar al-Assad has set loose his own forces in the west, alarming Washington’s few friends on the ground and potentially undermining the U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State.
U.S. President Barack Obama says Washington’s goal in Syria is to defeat Islamic State without helping Assad’s government. The Arab allies that have joined the U.S.-led strikes are some of Assad’s fiercest opponents.
SURUC Turkey/BEIRUT (Reuters) – Islamic State militants tightened their noose on a northern Syrian border town on Sunday as the United Nations said the number of Syrian Kurds fleeing into neighbouring Turkey may have topped 100,000 and was likely to go much higher.
Residents fleeing the frontier town of Ayn al-Arab, known in Kurdish as Kobani, and its surrounding villages said the militants were executing people of all ages in the areas they had seized to create a climate of fear and slavish obedience.