Pentagon: Kurdish town may fall to ISIS

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The Pentagon acknowledged Wednesday that the Kurdish town of Kobani could fall to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), but urged patience in the overall U.S.-led campaign against the group.

"This group's not going to go away tomorrow. And Kobani may fall. We can't predict whether it will or it won't. There will be other towns that they will threaten and there will be other towns that they take. It's going to take a bit of time," Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said on CNN.

At the same time, he said the U.S. and partner nations had conducted five airstrikes just days ago in Kobani.

"Nobody's taking it lightly," he said.

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The day before, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned the town would fall into ISIS's hands, and amid questions over whether the U.S. considers Kobani to be a strategic town in its fight against ISIS.

Its seizure by ISIS would broaden territory the militant group controls along the Syrian border with Turkey, as well as represent a victory over Kurdish militia defending the town. It could also lead to mass killings of those captured by ISIS.

It could also serve as evidence that ISIS is gaining territory since U.S. and partner airstrikes began in Syria last month.

"The key Syrian border city of Kobani will soon fall to the Islamist terror group ISIS,” CNN reported, quoting several senior U.S. administration officials. CNN downplayed the importance of the town, saying Kobani “is not a major U.S. concern."

Kirby said Kobani is "not necessarily a strategically significant border town" for the group, but said, "they want this victory."

Kirby urged for patience in the U.S.-led campaign against ISIS, but said military action was not going to defeat the group alone.

"It's got to be a whole of government and interagency and multinational approach," he said. "And what, frankly, needs to happen is their ideology needs to be defeated and that can only be done through good governance and that takes time. It takes effort, it takes patience."

He also downplayed the effect of U.S. and partner airstrikes in Syria, adding that they are more strategic than those in Iraq.

"I think we all need to set expectations here for the limits of air power alone," he said. "The campaign inside Syria is really designed to get at this group's ability to sustain, to recruit, to train, to equip itself, to finance itself."

"I think it's really important for people to understand the concept of time here. This is a long, difficult effort. We've been trying to say that as much as we can," he said.