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No Let-up in Turkey Unrest, More People Killed
International

No Let-up in Turkey Unrest, More People Killed

At least ten people were killed in Turkey on Thursday evening, bringing the overall death toll to around in violent protests over the fate of the Kurdish town of Kobane assaulted by the IS militants in Syria.

The latest deaths happened in clashes between rival groups in the southeastern province of Gaziantep. Defying a curfew imposed by the army, at least 20 people were wounded when pro-Kurdish activists and their opponents attacked each other with pistols, rifles and axes, Dogan news agency reported.

Separately, in the eastern city of Bingol, two police officers and a guard were killed while a police chief was wounded when gunmen attacked them. The attack happened while law enforcement was investigating the scene of recent Kobane-related clashes.

Three of the attackers were later killed while three others were captured after they clashed with security forces shortly after they fled the crime scene.

In the south eastern province of Mardin, one protester was killed in scuffles with police, AFP reports.

Meanwhile, police used tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannons against students in Ankara, namely those protesting in support of Syrian Kurds in Kobane at the Middle Eastern Technical University campus and at Ankara University. At least 25 people have been detained, while one woman was reportedly injured after being hit by pressurized water in the face, Hurriyet Daily News reports. The violence has prompted the Rector’s Office of Ankara University to cancel all classes on Friday.

Earlier in the day, 28 people were detained following a row between a Muslim Youth group and students at Istanbul University.

Police also detained 50 anti-war activist women who staged a protest against IS and the government at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport, AFP reports.

Meanwhile Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed on Thursday that he would not allow peace process between Ankara and the Kurdish rebels to be “sabotaged” and derailed, blaming clashes in the country on “dark forces” instigating unrest.

“It’s very obvious that this game is aimed at sabotaging the peaceful environment in the east and southeast as well as the peace process and our brotherhood,” Erdogan said referring to negotiations between the government and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

> Kobane Developments

IS militants seized more than a third of the Syrian border town of Kobane, a monitoring group said on Thursday, as US-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 US 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 US forces launched nine air strikes on Thursday against IS militants north and south of Kobane, striking some fighting units and destroying four buildings held by the group. US forces also conducted two air strikes against IS in Iraq.

Ankara resents suggestions from Washington that it is not pulling its weight, and wants broader joint action that also targets the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. "We strongly reject allegations of Turkish responsibility for the ISIS advance," a senior Ankara government source said, using a former acronym for the militant group.

The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the IS had pushed forward on Thursday.

"ISIS control more than a third of Kobane - all eastern areas, a small part of the northeast and an area in the southeast," said Rami Abdulrahman, head of the opposition Observatory, which monitors the situation in Syria.

Explosions rocked Kobani throughout the day, with black smoke visible from the Turkish border a few km (miles) away. The IS hoisted its black flag in the town overnight and a stray projectile landed 3 km (2 miles) inside Turkey.

The town's defenders say the United States is giving only token support with its air strikes, while Turkish tanks sent to the frontier look on but do nothing to defend the town, where the United Nations says only a few hundred remain. Over 180,000 people from the city and surrounding area have fled into Turkey.

 

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