ISIL on 24 Hour ‘Killing Rampage’ Through Kobane

At least 146 civilians killed in massacre activists describe as one of the worst to have taken place in Syria

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The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group has killed at least 146 civilians in a 24-hour rampage through the Kurdish town of Kobane in what a monitor described as one of the group’s “worst massacres” in Syria.

Women and children were among the slain civilians whose bodies were found in their homes and in the streets, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

“According to medical sources and Kobane residents, 120 civilians were executed by IS in their homes or killed by the group’s rockets or snipers,” Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP on Friday.

“When they entered the town, the jihadists took up positions in buildings at the southeast and southwest entrances, firing at everything that moved.”

Turkish officials say more than 150 people are being treated in hospitals.

Kobane remains hostage to the armed group on Friday, with an unknown number of ISIL fighters are holed up in at least four positions  – Mishta Nur hospital, a secondary school and two buildings near Rashad mosque.

They are also holding at least 50 civilian hostages and are using them as human shields

The killing spree that started in the town on Thursday is widely seen as vengeance for a series of defeats inflicted on the ISIL by Kurdish militia in recent weeks.

In January the armed group was forced to leave after months of fighting with Kurdish forces who were supported by US led coalition airstrikes.

Early on Thursday, dozens of fighters wearing uniforms of the YPG and the Syrian Free Army managed to enter the town.

They used suicide car bombers before fighters began randomly shooting at the people.

“we heard gunshots at 5 am. We went out to the street and saw people lying on the ground  …shot and killed…bodies and Blood everywhere. my father was shot. We kept moving from street to street to escape,” Mahmoud Muslim told Al Jazeera outside one of the hospitals in the Turkish border town of Suruc.

The fighting is continuing but Kurdish officials say they are confident they will restore peace and security in their town which has been a symbol of Kurdish defiance

ISIL’s intention may not be to capture Kobane but to send a message that it can’t be defeated

“We may lose some battles but we won’t be defeated” was what ISIL’s spokesman Abu Mohammed Al Adnani said in an audio recording a few days ago

The group has suffered a string of defeats at the hands of the Kurds in northeastern Syria – the most recent was in Tel Abyad, a strategic border town that ISIL used as a trade and smuggling route for foreign fighters and supplies

“they are taking revenge against us,” Mohammed Hammu, a Syrian Kurdish activist told us. But this assault may be more than just about revenge.

It is clearly about instilling fear – and this unexpected and spectacular attack allows it to boast an achievement that is in line with its strategic message which is “the caliphate remains”.

 

Reprinted with permission from AlJazeera