Backed by airstrikes, Kurds fight for Kobani

US-led coalition warplanes carried out four strikes Monday against Islamic State (IS) positions in Kobani and its perimeter, resulting in an unreported number of casualties, reported the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) forces concurrently launched a campaign in the contested southern section of Kobani, capturing two IS-held buildings and reportedly killing 13 of its fighters. As of publishing, fighting is ongoing in the southern and eastern parts of the city.

IS has realized significant progress towards capturing Kobani since intensifying its siege of the city more than a month ago, having taken more than a third of the Kurdish border town last week, reported the SOHR.

“I am fearful that Kobani will fall,” Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the United States’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in an interview on ABC Sunday, adding that IS forces have adapted to the strikes by avoiding flying flags, moving in large convoys, or establishing identifiable headquarters.

A leader of the YPG in Kobani said Sunday that YPG efforts and international airstrikes had “stopped IS's progress, and improved the position of the Kurdish forces.”

The airstrikes have destroyed “the greater part of IS's heavy weapons and machinery” in and around Kobani, Jakdar Kobani was quoted by Kurdish news agency ARANews as saying.

Rebels retake parts of Jobar

Rebels led by Jaish al-Islam and other Islamist battalions retook several locations in east Jobar from the Syrian army Sunday as the battle for the strategic Damascus neighborhood continues to escalate, reported pro-opposition satellite channel Al Aan.

“The rebels have checked the regime’s attack on the neighborhood with great valor in the shadow of the world’s preoccupation with Ayn al-Arab [Kobani],” Wael Alwan, a spokesman for the Islamic Union for the Soldiers of Sham, which has a strong presence in Jobar, told Syria Direct Monday.

The rebels’ advance comes in the wake of regime’s recent introduction of the UR-77, a Russian-made heavy tank that fires missiles, in Jobar, reports Al-Arabiya. The Syrian army has increased its efforts to take Jobar ever since the US-led international alliance began bombing the Islamic State.

Jobar is the closest rebel-held area to Damascus and is considered a gateway into East Ghouta, a series of towns to the east controlled by rebels. 

Jobar UR 77 Syrian army deploys Russian-made UR-77 tanks in Jobar. Photo courtesy of @Charles_Lister @MajdArar. 

Car bomb in Daraa

A booby-trapped car bomb exploded in front of the main mosque in the rebel-controlled town of Al-Yadudah just northwest of the provincial capital of Daraa province late Sunday night, reported pro-opposition news agency Syria Mubasher. 

“The car was a Nissan pickup and was bringing a displaced Syrian from a nearby town to Al-Yadudah,” local activist Abu Saddam al-Hourani told Syria Mubasher.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack. The rural parts of Daraa province are largely in the hands of FSA-affiliated fighters and Jabhat a-Nusra. The regime and rebels are currently fighting for control over the eponymous provincial capital.

The bomb went off close to a rebel checkpoint and caused no deaths, said Lebanese pro-Assad news agency Al-Ahed News.

Another car bomb near the mosque in May this year killed 40 people leaving from Friday prayers.

State media has not yet commented on the explosion.

Coalition hits A-Raqqa

The US-led international coalition carried out 12 airstrikes and missile attacks in and around the Islamic State's de facto capital of A-Raqqa city Sunday night, leading to “a number of [people] killed,” reported the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Among the targets were two former regime military bases captured by IS this summer, the Tabqa military airport and Division 17. After taking both bases, IS combatants decapitated captured regime soldiers and published pictures of their corpses on social media websites, which have since been taken down.

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