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Sunday, Oct 5, 2014

World

Jihadists '1 km' from Kobane, air strikes not enough: Kurdish official

AFP | Sunday, Oct 5, 2014

Smoke rises from the Syrian town of Ain al-Arab, known as Kobane by the Kurds, seen from the Mursitpinar border crossing on the Turkish-Syrian border in the southeastern town of Suruc, Sanliurfa province, on October 5, 2014.

SURUC, Turkey - Islamic State (IS) militants are just one kilometre from the Syrian town of Kobane and air strikes are not enough on their own to stop them, a Syrian Kurdish official said on Sunday.

No IS fighters were yet inside Kobane, according to Idris Nahsen, deputy foreign minister of the region, who spoke to AFP by phone from the besieged town.

"They are one kilometre (0.6 miles) away in some places and two or three kilometres in other places," he added.

There have been further US-led air strikes aimed at stopping the jihadists but Nahsen said they would not not be enough by themselves to stop the advance of IS.

"They are not enough to defeat terrorist groups on the ground. They (the US-led coalition) have to help with ammunition and weaponry.

"The strikes are helping but we need heavy weaponry, armoured vehicles, cannons, rockets. And air strikes need to be more effective," he told AFP.

Kurdish fighters have been battling the advance of IS militants around Kobane for the last two weeks. Some 186,000 refugees have fled to Turkey since the fighting began.

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