Turkey’s President Said Syrian Town About to Fall
Turkey’s president said the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobani was “about to fall” as Islamic State fighters pressed home a three-week assault that has cost a reported 400 lives and forced thousands to flee their homes.
The prospect that the town could be captured by Islamic State, who are now within city limits, has increased pressure on Turkey to join an international coalition to fight against the jihadists.
Islamic State wants to take Kobani in order to strengthen its grip on the border area and consolidate the territorial gains it has made in Iraq and Syria in recent months. U.S.-led air strikes have so far failed to prevent its advance on Kobani.
Turkey said it was pressing Washington for more air strikes, although President Tayyip Erdogan said bombing was not enough to defeat Islamic State and he set out Turkey’s demands for additional measures before it could intervene.
“The problem of ISIS (Islamic State) … cannot be solved via air bombardment. Right now … Kobani is about to fall,” he said during a visit to a camp for Syrian refugees.
“We had warned the West. We wanted three things. No-fly zone, a secure zone parallel to that, and the training of moderate Syrian rebels,” he said.
He said Turkey would take action if there were threats to Turkish soldiers guarding a historic site in Syria that Ankara regards as its territory. But so far Turkey has made no move to get involved in the fighting across the border.