The Syrian border town of Kobane has been hit by the fiercest fighting in days as Kurdish forces repelled advancing fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a group monitoring the violence has said.
The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 48 mortars had been fired at Kurdish areas in the past two days with two car bombs hitting Kurdish positions on Saturday evening leading to casualties.
“We had the most intense clashes of days, perhaps a week last night. [ISIL] attacked from three different sides including the municipality building side and the market place,” Abdulrahman Gok, a local journalist, told the Reuters news agency.
The Observatory also said 70 ISIL fighters had been killed in the past two days, according to sources at the hospital in the nearby town of Tel Abyab, where bodies are taken.
Al Jazeera cannot independently verify the group’s report.
“Last night there were clashes all across Kobane … this morning the clashes are still ongoing,” a Kurdish female fighter said.
Al Jazeera’s Bernard Smith, reporting from the Syria-Turkey border, said US-led air strikes on Saturday allowed Kurdish fighters to recapture territory from ISIL, but street-to-street and building-to-building clashes were still raging.
The coalition has been bombing ISIL targets in Iraq since August and extended the campaign to Syria in September after the group began making huge territorial gains
The month-long battle for Kobane has ebbed and flowed. A week ago, Kurds warned the town would fall imminently and the US-led coalition stepped up air strikes against ISIL, which wants to take Kobane to consolidate its position in northern Syria.
At least 186,000 people have fled the town and crossed the border to Turkey, according to the government, and are now sheltering in refugee camps. Al Jazeera