Islamic State fighters seized more than a third of the Syrian border town of Kobani, a monitoring group said on Thursday, as U.S.-led air strikes failed to halt their advance and Turkish forces looked on without intervening.
With Washington ruling out a ground operation in Syria, Turkey said it was unrealistic to expect it to mount a cross-border operation alone to relieve the mainly Kurdish town.
The U.S. military said Kurdish forces appeared to be holding out in the town, which lies within sight of Turkish territory, following new air strikes in the area against a militant training camp and fighters.
Washington said U.S. forces launched nine air strikes on Thursday against Islamic State militants north and south of Kobani, striking some fighting units and destroying four buildings held by the group. U.S. forces also conducted two air strikes against Islamic State in Iraq.
But the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Islamic State, still widely known by its former acronym of ISIS, had pushed forward on Thursday.
"ISIS control more than a third of Kobani - all eastern areas, a small part of the northeast and an area in the southeast," said Rami Abdulrahman, head of the Observatory, which monitors the Syrian civil war.
The commander of Kobani's heavily outgunned Kurdish defenders confirmed that the militants had made major gains, after a three-week battle that has also caused the worst street clashes in years between Turkish police and Kurdish protesters.
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