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Explosions rock Syrian border town of Kobani

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Explosions rock Syrian border town of Kobani


US reports claim large plumes of smoke in the Kobani sky were the result of American-led coalition airstrikes after fierce shelling in the town centre.

Kurdish and ISIL fighters have been battling for control of the strategic border town for one month.

Kobani was a city of 60,000 people. Now it has been described as a ghost town: the UN says fewer than 700 residents remain as its people flee to safety.

Many have ended up living in refugee camps in neighbouring Turkey.

One aid agency said people arrive bewildered, desperate, exhausted and angry. Their future is uncertain.

“Our situation is not good at all,” explained Syrian Kurdish refugee Hamsa Hamo. “We fled because of ISIL.”

The UN refugee agency said most of the 1.5 million refugees in Turkey live outside the country’s 22 refugee camps.

Meanwhile the British army is giving weapons training to 40 Syrian Kurdish fighters who are learning how to operate heavy machine guns as part of their fight against ISIL.

Britain gifted the L1A1 12.7 mm weapons to them last month.

“I think it will certainly contribute to the other weapons system systems which have been donated from a number if other nations and the training which we’re delivering to the Peshmerga will certainly, hopefully, turn the tide against ISIL,” said the British officer in charge of training, who did not disclose his name for security reasons.

So far, Britain has sent just 40 machine guns to Iraq’s Kurds alongside the trainers. The Kurds say they need much heavier weapons, such as tanks and attack helicopters, to take on ISIL fighters.

Britian’s Ministry of Defence has stressed the army trainers are fulfilling a non-combat role. Prime Minister David Cameron has said there was no question for now of deploying troops on the ground.

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