Turkey military take positions overlooking Syria border town

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Turkey military take positions overlooking Syria border town

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Turkish tanks and armoured vehicles have taken up positions on hills overlooking the Syrian border town of Kobani, also known as Ayn al-Arab.

A local Kobani official said fighters from the militant group calling itself Islamic State (ISIL) continued to besiege the town from the east, west and south.

Turkey, which lies to the north, has so far declined to take a frontline role in the battle against ISIL, despite an influx of refugees into Turkey fleeing the violence.

Ankara’s caution stems in part from its concern about links between Syrian Kurds and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an outlawed political group whose militants have waged a three-decade campaign pushing for greater Kurdish rights.

Turkey’s president Tayyip Erdogan suggested it creates a safe haven for refugees inside Syrian territory.

“There are three important steps that need to be taken. One of them is to launch a no-fly zone and to maintain the security of a no-fly zone. Secondly, a secure zone should be established inside Syria,” said Erdogan.

ISIL fighters launched their assault on Kobani more than a week ago. The town is predominately Kurdish.

More than 150,000 Kurds fled the town into Turkey.

Erdogan said his country has received little assistance in helping to deal with 1.5 million refugees in Turkey, costing the country more than 3 billion euros.