Kurdish troops in Syria have reportedly captured a key strategic position from Islamic State (Isis) forces who have besieged the town since September.
The Kurds took Mishtenur hill to the southeast of the town, which had been used to bombard the city. Its capture means Isis supply lines of weaponry, food and fighters are now vulnerable and could represent a turning point in the siege.
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which is based in the UK, 11 Isis fighters were killed in fighting for the hill. A Kurdish official in the town said there had been casualties on both sides. However large amounts of Isis ammunition and weaponry have reportedly been captured.
The town of Kobane has been a key target for Isis due to its strategic position on the border with Turkey between Syria and Iraq. However Kurds have put up stiff resistance and Isis have also been bombarded by Coalition air strikes. Isis now holds just 20 per cent of the town, according to most estimates. Around 1,600 people are thought to have died in and around Kobane, around1,000 of them Isis.
Kurdish official Idriss Nassan told IB Times from inside Kobane that the air-strikes had made a difference, and Isis were now on the back foot. "The air strikes have helped, but we need more help from the international coalition," said Nassan. "Our forces on the ground need more ammunition."
Kobane is so close to the Turkish border many former residents, as well as journalists, can watch the fighting from a few hundred metres away. Kurdish reinforcements have been allowed to cross back into Syria but Isis also find it easy to slip across the border. In November Isis - known locally as "Dash" - launched an attack from within Turkey.
"Dash used the border to attack," said Nassan. "We are asking the Turkish government about the border - we don't know how they got across. Dash are very dangerous. They want to control the whole world."