human rights watch

lördag 27 september 2014

First Airstrikes Hit Kobane

First Airstrikes Hit Kobane
KOBANE, Syria--The US-led anti-Islamic State coalition launched airstrikes targeting militant strongholds on the outskirts of the beleaguered Kurdish city of Kobane for the first time early Saturday, according to local officials. 

The strike follows a weeklong Islamic State (IS or ISIS) offensive that has driven over 140,000 Syrian Kurds across the Turkish border.

The mission targeted ISIS militants based in Jim-Hiran, Ali-Shar, Mirde Smill, and southern sections of Sheran, all villages east of Kobane, the unofficial capital of the autonomous Kurdish vilayets in Northern Syria.

According to information obtained by Rudaw, ISIS has faced major losses in the outskirts of Kobane.

This is the first time that coalition airstrikes targeted the embattled Kurdish city, arriving after a week of desperate pleas from local residents and opposition militias for the coalition to intervene.

Salih Muslim, the leader of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD)--the ruling party in the Kurdish controlled areas in Northern Syria--had complained that the coalition had ignored ISIS targets in Kobane even as the Islamic militants targeted civilians.
“We see all the fighter jets flying around, but they never target IS near Kobane. Airstrikes will be very helpful to repel IS attacks on Kobane,” said Muslim.

The coalition also expanded the air offensive into the central province of Homs Saturday, although strikes were at considerable distance from Homs city, controlled by Syrian president Bashar al Assad. These strikes were carried out in the desert area of al-Hammad.

Meanwhile other targets included Minbej, east of Aleppo, and multiple targets in Raqqa province, the center of ISIS activity and support. Raqqa city endured heavy bombardment, according to local witnesses.

The western coalition has been reluctant to provide military support for the PYD and their military wing in the past because of their links to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which many coalition partners-- including the US and Turkey--classify as a terrorist organization.

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