Kurdish forces from Syria and Turkey have checked the Islamic State advances near the key town of Kobane in the north of the country, near the Turkish border.
Sources report that YPG militia, joined by fighters from the Turkish Kurdish PKK, have bolstered frontlines to the west, south, and east of Kobane, the center of one of three Kurdish cantons. Reports indicate that the Kurdish forces have been able to obtain anti-tank guided missiles.
Some activists had told Al Jazeera that the Islamic State had gotten as close as 5 kilometers (3 miles) from Kobane, shelling the town with some of the fire falling in Turkey. Ankara mobilized about 15 tanks near the border in response.
The US-led coalition finally carried out airstrikes near Kobane on Monday; however, sources indicate that they were peripheral in the Kurdish success in holding the frontlines.
Kurdish forces in action:
More than 130,000 civilians fled into Turkey in recent weeks as the Islamic State took scores of villages around Kobane.
European Intelligence Services: US Never Briefed Us on “Khorasan Group” & “Imminent Terror Plot”
European counter-terrorism officials say US counterparts never mentioned an imminent plot by the “Khorasan Group”, the Al Qa’eda-linked faction in Syria which was the supposed target of US missile strikes last Tuesday.
The officials who spoke to McClatchy News are from two European NATO allies with close intelligence ties to the US. They said that, if an attack was imminent, they were likely to have been told by the Americans.
We have had many briefings on Daesh [the Islamic State] with other European allies because of the concern that some of our citizens will return from fighting abroad and conduct attacks here. But we have not heard of this Khorasan group before.
A second specialist, employed “in military intelligence by a northern European country”, said “our larger allies” had passed on concerns that Al Qa’eda was planning operations from within Syria and was working to recruit passport holders from Europe and the US.
However, he had never seen or heard the name Khorasan: “No, there was not a warning or intelligence shared about a specific plot, and we’re trying to learn more.”
US Missiles on Jabhat al-Nusra Almost Hit Free Syrian Army
A spokesman for the Free Syrian Army says that last Tuesday’s US missile attack on the Islamist faction Jabhat al-Nusra in Kafar Daryan in Idlib Province almost hit a Free Syrian Army headquarters 200 meters away.
The US fired at least 25 Tomahawk missiles on Jabhat al-Nusra in Idlib and Aleppo Provinces, killing at least 60 fighters and 14 civilians.
FSA spokesman Hussam Al Marie complained:
Unfortunately, there is zero coordination with the Free Syrian Army. Because there is no coordination, we are seeing civilian casualties. Because there is no coordination, they are hitting empty buildings for ISIS [the Islamic State.]
We have been getting promises that the coordination will be coming, but we have been getting promises since the beginning of this revolution and nothing has happened yet.
Al Marie continued the complaint of insurgents, including those nominally supported by the US, that the American airstrikes will not succeed on their own:
There are always civilian casualties when they are hitting al-Nusra because al-Nusra is just living among the people.
They didn’t do any real harm to ISIS, the buildings of ISIS were empty. Meanwhile, the main battle on the ground against ISIS hasn’t been supported yet. That’s the important thing, the ground battle.
Shift in Assad Regime Position on US Airstrikes? State Media Features Iran’s Criticism
A curious article on the website of the State news agency SANA this morning….
The Assad regime has cautiously welcomed the US airstrikes against the Islamic State, after assurances that regime forces would not be hit, but SANA now features the criticism of its ally in Tehran:
Iranian Assistant Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir Abdullahian said Monday, “The US crazy strikes in Syria under the pretext of eliminating the Islamic State in Iraq and Sham terrorist organization will increase extremism in the region.”
“If the US was credible to eliminate terrorists of ‘ISIS;, it should dry up the resources of its financing, not destroying Syria’s infrastructure and oil wells,” Abdullahian said in a statement.
He added that the western attempt, led by the US, to topple the Syrian state through boosting the power of terrorism is a dream that will not become true, pointing out that the Syrian people are the only ones who have the right to decide their destiny.
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem told the UN General Assembly on Monday that US airstrikes must be accompanied by implementation of a Security Council resolution to cut off funds and support to “terrorist” groups.
Defense Minister Proclaims Victory with Tour of Adra
The Deputy Minister, Fahd Jasem al-Freij, carried out a victory tour of the city of Adra, 12 miles northeast of Damascus, on Monday.
Syrian forces took the city, which had been occupied by insurgents since December, after a protracted bombardment earlier this month.
The military is now hoping to clear insurgents from Douma and Jobar, between northeast Damascus and Adra.
However, Syrian insurgents say they are continuing operations near Adra, killing troops and destroying armored vehicles near the city on Monday.