Abdullah Ocalan
A demonstrator waves a flag with the portrait of PKK jailed leader Abdullah Ocalan Reuters

The jailed leader of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militant group Abdullah Ocalan has urged all Kurds to take arms against the Islamic State (also known as Isis) which is fighting against Kurdish forces in Syria.

In a message released by his lawyer, Ocalan called on all Kurdish people to begin "all-out resistance against this high-intensity war".

"Not only the people of Rojava [Syrian Kurdistan] but also all people in the north [Turkey] and other parts of Kurdistan should act accordingly," he said.

Ocalan is serving a life sentence on the Imrali prison island. The PKK leader, who is linked to a Kurdish party in Syria battling Isis, has long fought against Turkey for autonomy.

Jihadists in Syria have launched an offensive against the predominantly Kurdish northern Syrian city of Kobani, sending 130,000 refugees across the Turkish border. Kobani, Ain Al-Arab in Arabic, is situated directly opposite the Turkish town of Suruc and is one of the three cantons established in the Rojava region with the initiative of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD).

Before his arrest and imprisonment in Turkey, Ocalan labelled the developments in Rojava as a Kurdish revolution.

Syrian Kurdish fighters said they had halted Isis advance in Kobani. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a monitoring group, confirmed that Sunni Islamists made no significant gains in the past 24 hours. The IS offensive is the second attempt to take Kobani since June.