The Battle for Kobani

For weeks now, ISIS militants in northern Syria have been attacking the Kurdish city of Ayn al-Arab, also known as Kobani, attempting to seize the city and solidify control of the territory. In the past few days, U.S.-led airstrikes on ISIS have included many targets around Kobani, and appear to have at least slowed their advance for the moment. Kobani is situated on a hillside right on the Syria-Turkey border, a border crossed by tens of thousands of Kurds fleeing their besieged city. Now, some of these refugees and fellow Kurds from southern Turkey have gathered on the border to watch the battles in Kobani through binoculars and cameras. Some Kurdish forces remain in the city, defending against invading militants, supported by Western aircraft and missiles, while ISIS continues to attack with artillery, mortars, suicide bombings, and small arms. CNN reports that senior U.S. administration officials conceded that Kobani will likely soon fall to ISIS, but downplayed the importance of the loss. [32 photos total]

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Smoke rises after an U.S.-led air strike in the Syrian town of Kobani Ocotber 8, 2014. U.S.-led air strikes on Wednesday pushed Islamic State fighters back to the edges of the Syrian Kurdish border town of Kobani, which they had appeared set to seize after a three-week assault, local officials said. The town has become the focus of international attention since the Islamists' advance drove 180,000 of the area's mostly Kurdish inhabitants to flee into adjoining Turkey, which has infuriated its own restive Kurdish minority and its NATO partners in Washington by refusing to intervene. (Reuters/Umit Bekas) #
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A satellite view of Kobani, Syria, the border with Turkey evident across the top of the image. See it mapped here. (© Google, Inc) #
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A Turkish forces armored vehicle in Mursitpinar, on the outskirts of Suruc, on the Turkey-Syria border, patrols the border road, backdropped by Kobani inside Syria, on October 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis) #
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Smoke rises from the Syrian town of Kobani, on the Turkish-Syrian border in the southeastern town of Suruc, on October 6, 2014. (Aris Messinis/AFP/Getty Images) #
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A Turkish Kurd uses binoculars in Mursitpinar to watch the intensified fighting between ISIS militants and Kurdish forces in Kobani, Syria, on October 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis) #
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A huge plume of smoke rises after an airstrike outside of Kobani, seen from Mursitpinar, Turkey, on October 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis) #
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Turkish Kurds look at the Syrian town of Kobani as they stand on top of a house near Mursitpinar border crossing on October 5, 2014. (Reuters/Umit Bektas) #
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A jet from the U.S.-led coalition flies in the sky over the Syrian town of Kobani as seen from a hill in Tal-Hajeb village, on October 7, 2014. (Reuters/Stringer) #
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Smoke rises after an airstrike in Kobani on October 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis) #
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A Kurdish man uses binoculars to watch fighting in Kobani, from the village of Mursitpinar, on October 6, 2014. (Aris Messinis/AFP/Getty Images) #
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A Kurdish party flag flies from a pole on a hilltop on the western side of Kobani, Syria as fighting intensified between Syrian Kurds and ISIS militants. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis) #
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In this image of Kobani, shot with an extreme telephoto lens and through heat haze from Mursitpinar, ISIS militants, along with a machine gun-fitted pickup truck, partially seen bottom right, hold positions in the Syrian city on October 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis) #
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Black smoke rises during ongoing fighting in Kobani on October 8, 2014. (Aris Messinis/AFP/Getty Images) #
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An ISIS fighter walks on a hillside near a black flag belonging to the Islamic State as a Turkish army vehicle takes position near the Syrian town of Kobani, viewed from the Turkish-Syrian border on October 7, 2014. (Reuters/Umit Bektas) #
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Smoke rises from the southwest of Kobani during airstrikes on October 7, 2014. (Aris Messinis/AFP/Getty Images) #
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Turkish Kurds gather near the border with Syria to watch as mortar shells land in the distance, near Kobani, on October 4, 2014. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici) #
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Turkish Kurds walk as Turkish tanks in the background hold their positions on a hilltop in the outskirts of Suruc, at the Turkey-Syria border, overlooking Kobani, on October 6, 2014. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis) #
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Turkish Kurds in Mursitpinar watch and shoot pictures over the border with their mobile phones as the fighting intensified between ISIS militants and Kurdish forces in Kobani on October 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis) #
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Smoke rises from a hilltop in Kobani on October 3, 2014. (Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty Images) #
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Armed men, believed to be ISIS militants, walk along a street in Kobani, seen from the Turkish-Syrian border, on October 8, 2014. (Aris Messinis/AFP/Getty Images) #
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An ISIS flag flies atop a building on the eastern side of Kobani on October 6, 2014. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis) #
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Smoke rises above Kobani after a war plane carried out an airstrike, seen from near the Mursitpinar border crossing on October 7, 2014. (Reuters/Umit Bektas) #
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A damaged armoured vehicle sits on a deserted road in the eastern countryside of the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobani, after ISIS fighters took control of the area on October 7, 2014. (Reuters/Stringer) #
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An ISIS fighter mans a checkpoint formerly used by Kurdish fighters in al-Jurn village in the countryside of Kobani, after the ISIS took control of the area on October 7, 2014. (Reuters/Stringer) #
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A damaged school building, which was used by Kurdish fighters as a base, in al-Aziza village in the countryside of Kobani, after ISIS fighters took control on October 7, 2014. (Reuters/Stringer) #
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ISIS fighters stand along a street in the countryside of Kobani on October 7, 2014. (Reuters/Stringer) #
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An ISIS fighter gestures from a vehicle outside Kobani on October 7, 2014. (Reuters/Stringer) #
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In this image shot with an extreme telephoto lens from the Turkey-Syria border, ISIS militants are seen after placing their group's flag on a hilltop on the eastern side of Kobani, Syria, on October 6, 2014. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis) #
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An F-15E Strike Eagle receives fuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker over northern Iraq after conducting airstrikes in Syria on September 23, 2014. U.S. coalition-led warplanes struck Islamic State group militants near the northern Syrian town of Kobani, for the first time on September 27, 2014, activists and a Kurdish official said. (AP Photo/U.S. Air Force, Matthew Bruch) #
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Smoke rises above Kobani, seen from near the Mursitpinar border crossing on October 6, 2014. (Reuters/Umit Bektas) #
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A before-and-after pair of images of a mosque's minaret in Kobani. In the image on the right, shot only hours after the first, smoke rises from a strike that destroyed the minaret during heavy fighting between ISIS militants and Syrian Kurds, on October 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis) #
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Turkish Kurds sit on the outskirts of Suruc, on the Turkey-Syria border, as they watch smoke rising from a fire following an airstrike in Kobani, Syria, on October 7, 2014. Outgunned Kurdish fighters vowed not to abandon their increasingly desperate efforts to defend the Syrian border town from ISIS militants pressing in from three sides and pounding them with heavy artillery. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis) #

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