10/14/2014, 00.00
SYRIA - TURKEY
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Jihadist flag removed in Kobane after Kurdish counter-offensive against Islamic state

Kurdish militias retake the Tall Shair hilltop and remove Islamist flag thanks to US airstrikes. Obama meets coalition military leaders. Ankara stops aid to the Kurds, denies the US use of its air bases and bombs PKK rebel sites.

Damascus (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) retook Tall Shair, a hilltop west of Kobane, a strategically important Syrian-Kurdish city on the border with Turkey.

Local sources have posted photos showing the removal of the flag of the Islamic State (IS) (pictured).

Kurdish fighters were able to advance thanks to US-led coalition air strikes against the terrorist group.

Ten days ago, Jihadists had captured the hill as they lay siege to the city, which is a strategic asset because it controls access to the Syria-Turkey border, about a 100 kilometres from the Islamist stronghold of Raqqa.

Over the weekend, YPG militias launched their counter-offensive against the IS, which has been besieging Kobane for more than three weeks.

In the last few hours, Kurdish fighters pushed out jihadists from districts in the city the latter held in the past several days.

The Kurds today also took over the village of Tilshahir, 4 kilometres west of the city.

US President Barack Obama will hold talks this evening with military chiefs from the coalition of more than 20 countries to discuss ways to fight IS in Syria and Iraq.

This is the first summit between senior officers, since the air offensive against the jihadi fighters began.

Meanwhile, Ankara has denied US government statement that it would be using its air bases in Turkey to attack IS forces.

In spite of the protests from around the world and appeals from various Western governments, Turkey has in fact decided not to intervene to stop the massacre of Syrians across the border.

Instead, fearful of what they often call the cancer of Kurdish separatism, Turkish authorities have blocked a shipment of weapons from Iraqi Kurds to Syrian Kurds.

Syrian Kurdish sources report that the supply never reached Kobane because of the failure to open a transit corridor, something that French President François Hollande continues to call for.

For their part, Turkish warplanes bombed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) rebel targets in Hakkari province near the Iraqi border, causing "heavy casualties", Turkish media report.

If confirmed, this would be the first major air raid by Turkey on the PKK since a ceasefire was reached in March in 2013.

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See also
Kurdish victory in Kobane worries Erdogan
27/01/2015
As airstrikes fail to stop Jihadist push in Kobane, ground operation appears necessary
08/10/2014
Ankara to allow Iraqi Kurds to cross to fight Islamic state
20/10/2014
Washington asking a reluctant Turkey to do "more" against the Islamic state
09/10/2014
Kurdish peshmerga arrive in Turkey to fight in Kobane
29/10/2014


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