Report: U.S. Slams Turkey for 'Dragging Its Feet' Over Islamic State in Kobani

Unnamed senior Obama Administration official tells NYT: 'This isn't how a NATO ally acts while hell is unfolding a stone's through from their border.'

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Smoke rises from the city centre of Kobane, as seen from the Turkish-Syrian border during heavy fighting, October 7, 2014.
Smoke rises from the city centre of Kobane, as seen from the Turkish-Syrian border during heavy fighting, October 7, 2014.Credit: AFP

Washington is concerned by Turkey's reluctance to engage Islamic State militants in the Syrian border town of Kobani, a news report said Wednesday, as fighting continued in the town.

"There's growing angst about Turkey dragging its feet to act to prevent a massacre less than a mile from is border," an unnamed senior administration official was quoted as saying by the New York Times.

Meanwhile, Kurdish protesters clashed with police in Turkey, leaving at least 14 people dead and scores injured Tuesday as demonstrators in Brussels forced their way into the European Parliament, part of Europe-wide demonstrations against the Islamic State group's advance on a town on the Syrian-Turkish border.

Islamic State is close to taking the town of Kobani, in the ethnic Kurdish area of Syria, from the defending Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), officials said Tuesday, as U.S.-led airstrikes pounded the militants' positions.

"After all the fulminating about Syria's humanitarian catastrophe, [Turkey is] inventing reasons not to act to avoid another catastrophe," the official said. "This isn't how a NATO ally acts while hell is unfolding a stone's through from their border."

U.S. officials dismissed Turkey's excuses for inaction, saying the request for a no-fly zone over northern Syria made no sense as the frequent U.S.-led air force sorties in the area already effectively kept enemy aircraft away, the report said.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has called Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu twice since Monday, spokeswoman Jen Psaki said, as Washington urges Turkey to take action.

The YPG has links to the Turkish Kurdish rebel group, the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), considered terrorists by Turkey, as well as by the U.S. and the European Union.

Meanwhile, several Syrian human rights groups have issued a dramatic appeal, calling on the world to save Kobani from falling into the hands of the Islamic State. The appeal came as more fighting was underway on Wednesday in the town.

Seven rights groups, including the Kurdish Organization for Human Rights and the Human Rights Organization in Syria, say Islamic State group's onslaught on the town and the surrounding area, which began in mid-September, represents a "clear form of persecution and ethnic cleansing."

The groups say the fighting has displaced nearly 280,000 people who fled fearing "killings, executions, throat slitting, beheadings, mayhem and kidnaping of women and children.

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