BEIRUT (dpa) – The Free Syrian Army, the moderate rebel group fighting to topple President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, said Friday it would fight alongside Syrian Kurds in Kobane against the Islamic State group.
“We call on the US-allied coalition to support the FSA fighters, who are heading to Kobane,” the FSA command in the northern Syrian province of Aleppo said.
The statement was also signed by moderate Islamist rebels from the Army of Islam, al-Sham Brigades, the Syrian Revolutionary Front and the Army of Mujahedeen, who are allied with the FSA against the Islamic State extremist group.
The Islamic State this week gained ground around Kobane in northern Syria despite US-led airstrikes and an airdrop of weapons and ammunition to its Kurdish defenders.
The jihadists are thought to be trying to capture the Turkish border gateway at Mursitpinar, Kobane’s only lifeline.
Capturing the crossing would also preempt any reinforcements by Iraqi Kurds, who on Wednesday voted to send reinforcements to Kobane.
Kurdish fighters were engaged in fierce clashes against the Islamic State extremists in the northern and western parts of Kobane, a monitoring group said.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that allied airstrikes targeted the hill of Talat al-Shaer, which the jihadists captured the day before. No casualties were reported.
French army chief of staff Pierre de Villiers gave details about a coalition air raid on an Islamic State training centre in the Kirkuk area.
“We hurt them last night,” de Villiers told Europe 1 radio. “Around 70 bombs were dropped. We fired 12 laser-guided bombs that made target.”
De Villiers said the strikes, in which other coalition members also participated, targeted buildings in which the militants produced weapons “to attack Iraqi forces.” French warplanes have made seven sorties over Iraq since it joined in the airstrikes in mid-September.