Fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) have advanced deeper into the Syrian town of Kobane, taking control of more than 40 percent of territory, according to a group monitoring the violence.
The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the country’s civil war, said on Friday that the self-declared jihadist group had “taken at least 40 percent [of the town]”.
Rami Abdulrahman, who runs the Syrian Observatory through a network of activists on the ground, said ISIL were in almost complete control of the “security quarter”, which is home to administrative buildings and the police station used by the local government.
Al Jazeera’s Stefanie Dekker, reporting from Suruc on the Turkey-Syria border, said ISIL were making gains in the eastern side of Kobane, where they also managed to take over a security headquarters.
However, a Kurdish military official earlier denied any major advance by the group, telling the Reuters news agency that clashes between ISIL and Kurdish fighters were still ongoing.
Ocalan Iso, deputy head of the Kurdish forces, said ISIL was still bombarding the town centre with mortars, showing that its fighters had not extended their control over more than 20 percent of the town.
“There are fierce clashes and they are bombing the centre of Kobane from afar,” he said.
ISIL’s advance has brought the frontline to just 1.3km from the Syrian-Turkey border, despite US-led air strikes targeting the group’s positions.
The US military said it conducted nine air strikes against ISIL positions in Syria in the past two days, including seven near Kobane, destroying two training facilities, vehicles and two small units.
ISIL enters deeper into Syrian town as the fighter goes on