IS gains control of key hill near Kobane
The Islamic State group (IS, formerly known as ISIS) took control of the strategic Tel Shair hill, west of Kobane, on Thursday after a prolonged battle with Kurdish fighters. The hill had been used as a site for airdrops from the US-led coalition.
Kobane is now under attack on three sides, after the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) were forced to retreat.
"The IS now surrounds Kobane from the east, west and south," Kurdish journalist Majid Muhammad told al-Araby al-Jadeed. "The north of the city is the Turkish border."
The international coalition has reportedly intensified its airstrikes against IS targets in response.
"Clashes between the two sides have continued since Wednesday night, when IS fighters were able to gain control of the hill, 2.5 kilometers west of the city, while YPG fighters fired mortar shells at IS units, with several killed and wounded on both sides," Muhammad reported.
The hill had been used to deliver medical supplies, weapons and ammunitions to Kurdish fighters in Kobane.
The IS group seized supplies dropped by American aircraft on Tuesday. The arms were intended for Kurdish fighters in Kobane, but were dropped in IS-controlled areas by accident.
"The international coalition launched new airstrikes targeting IS positions east and south of the town, in addition to strikes close to the Kurdish internal security headquarters and the villages of Minas and Kolmed south-west of the city," said Muhammad.
A resident of the town, who asked not to be named, added: "The vote to authorise Masoud Barzani, president of the Iraqi Kurdistan region, to send Peshmerga forces to fight the IS will be an important factor in tipping the balance in favour of Kurdish fighters in the city once again."
Meanwhile, Wilat Amr, a doctor in a Kobane field hospital, has reported treating casualties with symptoms consistent with the use of chemical weapons, including breathing difficulties, burns and skin irritation.
This article is an edited translation from our Arabic website