The Syrian border city of Kobani continues to grab headlines today, with reports placing ISIS closer than ever to the heart of the city, which remains in Kurdish hands. The Wall Street Journal reports that ISIS yesterday managed to raise two of its black flags in the city's outskirts. One was erected atop a hill near the eastern entrance to Kobani—about a mile from the city center. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the Kurds forced the jihadists to withdraw from the eastern part of the town in heavy clashes after midnight. But that didn't stop Turkey's president from today declaring "Kobani is about to fall." More:
- Warplanes believed to have been sent by the US-led coalition struck positions held by ISIS militants in Kobani. The airstrikes began last night; journalists on the Turkish side of the border heard the sound of warplanes this morning before two large plumes of smoke billowed just west of Kobani.
- But Kurdish forces yesterday said that past strikes appear to have done little to slow down the militants' advance, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan today agreed that the coalition air campaign launched last month would not be enough to halt ISIS' advance. He called for greater cooperation with the Syrian opposition: "We asked for three things: one, for a no-fly zone to be created; two, for a secure zone parallel to the region to be declared; and for the moderate opposition in Syria and Iraq to be trained and equipped."
- In Turkey, meanwhile, media reports say police in Istanbul and at least six other cities clashed with hundreds of demonstrators protesting the ISIS advance on the Kurdish town. Clashes broke out in several Istanbul neighborhoods overnight, as protesters set up barricades; hurled stones, fireworks, and firebombs at police; and set a bus on fire. Police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse similar protests in the mostly Kurdish-populated cities of Diyarbakir, Batman, Van, Sirnak, Sanliurfa, and Hakkari.
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