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Extremist fighters overrun in Syrian Kurdish village

Two bombs struck near an elementary school in Akrama, an area home to many government supporters that has been targeted before by jihadist groups. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the bombings.
Two bombs struck near an elementary school in Akrama, an area home to many government supporters that has been targeted before by jihadist groups. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the bombings.SYRIAN ARAB NEWS AGENCY VIA ASSOCIATED PRESS

MERTISMAIL, Turkey — Islamic State militants swept into a Kurdish village in Syria on Wednesday just across the border from this Turkish hamlet, as farther south, in the central Syrian city of Homs, twin car bombs killed at least 45 people, including 41 children, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an antigovernment monitoring group.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the bombings. Video posted online showed people running and shrieking amid black smoke, and sidewalks littered with body parts, before a second explosion went off.

The bombs struck near an elementary school in Akrama, an area that is home to many government supporters that has been targeted before by jihadist groups like the Nusra Front. Militants from the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, have recently increased their presence in Homs province as well.

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Meanwhile, the conflict continues across the country between Syrian insurgents, the Islamic State, and the government, which has continued bombarding opposition-held areas.

The Syrian Network for Human Rights said Wednesday that in the month of September alone, 2,375 people died in the conflict; of those, more than 1,700 were killed by government forces, among them 294 children.

On the Turkish border, Islamic State militants who have been using tanks and artillery in a 10-day onslaught on a Syrian Kurdish area of farming villages advanced to within two miles of the area’s main town, Kobani, also known as Ayn al-Arab.

At least 50 fighters, carrying the black flags of the Islamic State, reached the village of Kazikan on Tuesday, where numerous Kurdish men had camped against the border fence with their cars and livestock, hoping that the nearby presence of Turkish soldiers would protect them.

The Kurdish men squeezed through the fence and remained on the other side, watching Islamic State fighters arriving one by one, on foot or on motorcycles, and driving away with the Kurds’ cars.

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The men pleaded with Turkish soldiers to help, but the soldiers shouted at them and made them leave the area.

“I worked as a laborer for 30 years before I was able to pay $15,000 for my Mitsubishi,” said Omar Hammao, 45, after watching his car get stolen. “Delivering goods was my way to feed my family on a daily basis. I think that the coalition airstrikes might be able to push ISIS away, but I don’t think they will be able to give me back my car, or the life I had.”

The US-led coalition has carried out several airstrikes in the area against the Islamic State group, but Kurdish fighters have pleaded for more aid as they struggle to hold off the assault.

Kobani has been bombarded for the past three days, driving out new refugees to join more than 150,000 who have already fled to Turkey. On Wednesday the shelling appeared to be more frequent and sustained.

A Kurdish militant who gave only a first name, Wayss, said his fighters were now preparing for guerrilla war.

“It is the only way to face Daesh,” he said, using an Arabic acronym for the Islamic State.

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