ISIS makes gains in Kobani despite strikes

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) continues to make gains on Kobani, a town on the Syria-Turkey border, despite U.S.-led airstrikes on the group.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an activist group, told Reuters Thursday that ISIS controls “more than a third of Kobani.” U.S. airstrikes Thursday targeted militants fighting to both the north and south of the town.


The Kurdish town of Kobani has become a flash point in the war against the militant group. Losing the town would be a blow to the American-led coalition, which seeks to cut down ISIS’s ability to take territory.

It also puts ISIS right on the doorstep of Turkey, a NATO ally.
The fighting has led to unrest among the 15 million Kurds in Turkey, who are pushing for their country to take action.  
But while Turkey authorized military force against ISIS, there have been accusations that it’s been slow to provide tangible support. The country’s foreign minister, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, said that Turkey wouldn’t send in its troops to defend Kobani, pushing back against those accusations.
"Our allies, especially the U.S. administration, dragged their feet for a very long time before deciding to take action against the catastrophic events happening in Syria," he said.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest admitted that the administration is “deeply concerned” by the advance on Kobani and said that the White House sent Gen. John Allen, the head of the effort against ISIS, to meet with the Turkish government on Thursday.

Staffan de Mistura, the U.N.'s special envoy for Syria, warned Friday that the 12,000 people estimated to be in Kobani "will most likely be massacred" if ISIS successfully takes over the town. 

He compared the situation to the genocide in Srebrenica, a Bosnian town where Serbs killed thousands of Muslims in 1995 during the Yugoslav civil war despite the presence of U.N. peacekeepers.

"When there is an imminent threat to civilians, we cannot, we should not, be silent," he said.

—This story was updated at 11:24 a.m.