World Bulletin/News Desk
ISIL fighters advanced deeper into the Syrian town of Kobani on the Turkish border on Friday, taking almost complete control of an area where the local Kurdish administration is based, a group monitoring the violence reported.
"They have taken at least 40 percent (of the town)," Rami Abdulrahman, who runs the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said by telephone.
ISIL fighters were now in almost complete control of the "security quarter", which is home to the administrative buildings used by the local government, he said.
A Kurdish military official speaking from Kobani, also known as Ayn al-Arab, said there was fighting between ISIL and Kurdish fighters next to a building used by Kurdish internal security forces, but denied any major advance by the group.
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 Kobani from afar," he said by telephone.
UN envoy calls on Turkey to prevent Srebrenica-style massacre
A U.N. envoy called on Turkey on Friday to help prevent a slaughter in the Syrian border town of Kobani at the hands of ISIL fighters, saying he feared a repeat of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre when thousands died.
Staffan de Mistura, the United Nations' envoy to Syria, appealed to Ankara to let "volunteers" cross the frontier so that they can reinforce Kurdish militias defending the town that lies within sight of Turkish territory.
He revived memories of the breakup of Yugoslavia when Bosnian Serb forces marched into the town of Srebrenica, which was supposed to be under U.N. protection, and gunned down more than 8,000 Muslim men and boys at execution sites.
"Do you remember Srebrenica? We do. We never forgot and probably we never forgave ourselves," de Mistura told a news conference.
Turkey has stationed tanks on hills overlooking Kobani but so far refused to intervene without a comprehensive deal with the United States and other allies on the Syrian civil war. It has also prevented Turkish Kurds from crossing the frontier to reinforce their fellow Kurds defending the town.
"We would like to appeal to the Turkish authorities ... to allow the flow of volunteers at least and their own equipment in order to be able to enter the city and contribute to a self-defence action," de Mistura said in Geneva.
Predicting Kobani is likely to fall "if left unattended", he said self-defence with sufficient equipment to do so was an international human right.
While much of the population has already fled the ISIL offensive, 500-700 mostly elderly people are still sheltering in Kobani.
Asked if he meant Turkey should allow arms supplies, de Mistura replied: "I said what I said: equipment can be many things."
In addition to the people in Kobani, about 10,000-13,000 were nearby in a border area between Syria and Turkey, and there was one last exit point out of the town.
"If this falls, the 700, plus perhaps the 12,000 people, apart from the fighters, will be most likely massacred," he said. "When there is an imminent threat to civilians, we cannot, we should not, be silent."
If the city fell, 400 km of the 900 km-long Syrian-Turkish border would be in ISIL hands.
Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic is on trial in the Hague for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, including for Srebrenica, Europe's worst massacre since World War Two.
De Mistura, who followed Kofi Annan and Lakhdar Brahimi into the role of U.N. Syria mediator, reiterated that there was no military solution to the Syrian war but said facts on the ground had changed since an international Geneva conference agreed ground rules for ending the conflict in 2012.
He said nobody would win the war and the emergence of ISIL as a common enemy had provided an opportunity for local ceasefires and ending long-running sieges in Syria.
Asked if he would negotiate with ISIL, said he was "authorised and expected to talk to anyone" if that produced a political solution or a humanitarian relief.
"But I am not proposing, I am not planning, and they are not asking to meet anyone of us," he said.Güncelleme Tarihi: 10 Ekim 2014, 16:49