Islamic State group militants seemed poised Monday to take Kobane, Syria, as outgunned Kurdish fighters vowed to defend the town of 180,000 people bordering Turkey. The militant group also known as ISIS allegedly had surrounded Kobane and was firing heavy artillery at the Kurdish fighters, according to Reuters.
ISIS has continued to advance in Iraq and Syria amid airstrikes by a U.S.-led coalition in both countries. The border fight in the town also known as Kobani and Ayn al-Arab has resulted in stray fire hitting Turkish territory.
"Fighting continues, they are also firing mortars at the heart of the town. We have light weapons only," Esmat al-Sheikh, head of the Kobani Defense Authority, told Reuters. "If they enter Kobani, it will be a graveyard for us and for them. We will not let them enter Kobani as long as we live. We either win or die. We will resist to the end."
President Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey has said he would fight back against ISIS if the militants hit Turkish forces. Turkish tanks have patrolled the Turkey-Syria border in recent days.
Turkey’s Parliament authorized ground forces to combat ISIS and join the U.S.-led coalition against the militant group on Thursday. Turkey is also prepared to allow NATO members to use Turkish military bases as launching pads for attacks and establish a no-fly zone over Syria.
The three-week-long fight to take Kobane is an important priority for ISIS, which hopes to control a long stretch of the Syrian-Turkish border.