The besieged city of Kobani, Syria, has seen an increase in air strikes and fighting, with Kurdish fighters in the area saying they’ve stopped the extremist group ISIS from advancing. As the U.S.-led coalition carried out strikes on areas east and south of Kobani, new reports emerged about Turkey’s role in supporting the fight against ISIS.
U.S. officials said this weekend that Turkey had agreed to let the coalition use its bases to strike ISIS. But on Monday, a Turkish official tells the AP that “there is no new agreement with the United States on using an air base in southern Turkey,” the news agency says.
On Friday, the U.S. State Department announced that Turkey would train and equip a moderate opposition in Syria to help fight ISIS. Turkey’s discussions of joining that fight have often included a call for a no-fly buffer zone along its border with Syria. NATO officials have been reluctant to add the idea of “safe havens” to the situation along the border.
Today, Kurdish fighters who are trying to defend the city of Kobani are saying they’ve made advances against ISIS, a claim that was echoed by a monitoring group. U.N. officials have warned of a potential massacre if the city falls.
The European Union will send nearly $5 million in emergency humanitarian aid to groups helping refugees from Kobani.
From Brussels, Teri Schultz reports for NPR’s Newscast unit:
“Expressing ‘deep concern’ over the situation, the EU says the people of Kobane have shown the international community they are resolved ‘to use all means to protect their own rights and values and to resist oppression.'”
On Sunday, the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said he believes that a looming battle for Mosul might prove to be a pivotal clash in the fight against ISIS. It would be a ground conflict, Gen. Martin Dempsey said, and it might require the participation of U.S. advisers.