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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

More Fighting Near Syria-Turkish Border

by VOA News October 04, 2014

Fighting continued to rage Saturday in northern Syria where Islamic State militants are closing in on a Kurdish town near the Turkish border.

Kurdish forces backed by U.S.-led airstrikes are trying to defend the town of Kobani from the militant advance. Kurds have been struggling to repel IS militants for weeks.

The assault has forced more than 160,000 Syrians to flee into Turkey.

VOA's Kurdish service spoke with Idriss D'Abo, an English teacher from Kobani who fled to Turkey and has been watching the fighting from the safety of the Turkish side of the border.

'And here in the place I'm talking to you, as you can see all people gather here and go to the border. They try to enter Kobani, try to open the door, to send the food or clothes to the people who are fighting ISIS there.'

The coalition has been bombing the militants' positions for weeks, but has made little headway. Turkey has also vowed to do whatever it can to keep Kobani - also known as Ayn al Arab - from falling to the militants.

The White House welcomed the Turkish parliament's vote Thursday authorizing Turkish military activity against Islamic State in both Syria and Iraq.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest also praised contributions by Australia, Denmark and the Netherlands to contribute fighter aircraft.

Australia's Cabinet approved the deployment of fighter aircraft and special forces to Iraq earlier Friday.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott said it is in Australia's interest to help defeat the extremist group, calling it a 'death cult.'

The U.S. and some European countries have been conducting air strikes against the extremists in Iraq since August. Abbott refused to say whether Australia would also consider joining U.S. and Arab countries in striking Islamic State targets in Syria.

Pressure has been mounting on Turkey as IS fighters close in on Kobani. Turkey has vowed to do whatever it can to keep Kobani - also known as Ayn al Arab - from falling to the militants.

The besieged town's defense chief told VOA a 'large scale massacre' is imminent without international aid.

In an exclusive interview with VOA's Kurdish service, Ismet Sheikh Hasan said Kurdish fighters defending the area have felt abandoned by U.S.-led coalition forces, despite nearby airstrikes in recent days.

VOA's Kurdish service contributed to this report.

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