Heavy fighting near Kurdish Syrian town
Syrian refugees arrive at the Turkey-Syria border near Suruc, Turkey, Syrian Kurdish town of Kobani is in the background - AP/Burhan Ozbilici

BEIRUT: Activists and Kurdish fighters say fierce clashes are underway near a Syrian Kurdish town along the border with Turkey as the Islamic State group presses its assault to capture Kobani.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported intense fighting on Friday to the east and southeast of Kobani, saying the town’s Kurdish fighters destroyed two vehicles belonging to the militants.

Nasser Haj Mansour, a defense official in Syria’s Kurdish region, says the Kurdish militiamen repelled the latest attack by the Islamic State group east of Kobani and destroyed one tank.

The Kurdish town and the surrounding area have been under attack since mid-September, with militants capturing dozens of nearby Kurdish villages. The assault has forced some 160,000 Syrians to flee across the frontier in recent days.

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