World Bulletin / News Desk
ISIL fighters killed at least 145 civilians in an attack on the Syrian town ofKobani and a nearby village, in what a monitoring group described on Friday as the second worst massacre carried out by the hardline group in Syria.
Fighting between the Kurdish YPG militia and ISIL fighters who infiltrated the town at the Turkish border on Thursday continued into a second day, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group and a Kurdish official said.
A separate ISIL assault on government-held areas of the northeastern city of Hasaka was reported to have forced 60,000 people to flee their homes, the United Nations said, warning as many as 200,000 people may eventually try to flee.
ISIL has a record of conducting large scale killings of civilians in territory it captures in both Iraq andSyria, where it has proclaimed a caliphate to rule over all Muslims according to an ultra-hardline vision of Islam.
The attack on the predominantly Kurdish town of Kobani and the nearby village of Brakh Bootan marked the biggest single massacre of civilians by ISIL in Syria since it killed hundreds of members of the Sunni Sheitaat tribe last year, Rami Abdulrahman, who runs the Observatory, said.
He said 146 civilians had been killed. Kurdish officials said at least 145 had died.
The assault included at least three suicide car bombs. The dead included the elderly, women and children, he said.
The ISIL fighters were reported to number in the dozens and entered the town in five cars disguised as members of the YPG and Syrian rebel groups.
The twin attacks which began on Thursday showed the fighters returning to the offensive after two weeks of defeats at the hands of Kurdish-led forces, supported by U.S.-led air strikes. Earlier this week the Kurds advanced to within 50 km (30 miles) of Raqqa city, the de facto capital of ISIL's self-declared caliphate.
In the latest battles, ISIL has picked targets where it is difficult for the U.S.-led alliance to provide air support to those fighting on the ground. In Kobani, also known as Ayn al-Arab, aerial bombardment risks civilian casualties in residential areas targeted in the attack.
In Hasaka the ISIL targets were in areas controlled by President Bashar al-Assad. The U.S.-led coalition, which has been bombing ISIL targets in both Syria and Iraq since last year, has ruled out cooperating with Damascus.
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