Passing through the northern Syrian town of Jarablous with uniforms resembling those of Kurdish forces, Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) militants once again advanced into Kobani on Thursday morning, killing at least 100 civilians so far and taking some 50 people hostage to use them as human shields in their fight against Kurdish fighters.
Some 200 wounded Syrian Kurds were brought to hospitals on the Turkish side of the border for treatment. Some of the heavily wounded people died shortly after being brought to Turkish hospitals.
Kobani-based Kurdish activist Mustafa Bali said small groups of ISIS militants are still in the town and have taken civilians hostage in at least three locations. He added that a fourth location, a restaurant, was stormed by Kurdish fighters who freed the hostages and killed several ISIS fighters.
The attack on Kobani came after the ISIS group suffered setbacks over the past two weeks, including the loss of the Syrian border town of Tal Abyad, one of the main points for ISIS to bring in foreign fighters.
The ISIS attacks on Kobani came when Turkey expressed its concerns that U.S.-led airstrikes were helping the PKK-affiliated Democratic Union Party (PYD) to drive out the Turkmen and Arab population of northern Syria to create a Kurdish-only zone.
Ankara, which considers the YPG to be a terrorist group, is worried that the vacated town will be filled with the PYD's YPG forces and that their presence close to the Turkish border could put both its border and domestic security under threat. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan voiced his concern over a demographic change in the region and expressed his reservations about the U.S.-led coalition's airstrikes, which he doubts only target ISIS.
ISIS besieged the town for months earlier this year, but Kurdish fighters drove out ISIS forces six months ago when Turkey allowed Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga fighters to cross through Turkish soil to enter into Kobani to fight ISIS. "Fighting is still ongoing in the city. It was quiet overnight but fighting resumed Friday morning," said Bali. He added that ISIS fighters are now holding hostages in a house near the Mashta Nour Hospital, a house near the town's cultural center and a home close to the Mahdathe School.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that the attack on Kobani and its suburbs left 120 civilians dead. Bali said more than 100 civilians were killed in Kobani as well as 40 fighters whose bodies are still lying in the streets. He added that 54 civilians have been buried in Kobani since Thursday.