Kurdish defenders held off Islamic State militants in Syria’s border town of Kobani on Sunday, but the fighters struck with deadly bombings in Iraq, killing dozens of Kurds in the north and assassinating a provincial police commander in the west.
The top U.S. military officer suggested that Washington, which has ruled out joining ground combat in either Iraq or Syria, could nevertheless increase its role “advising and assisting” Iraqi troops on the ground in the future.
U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice said in a television interview that Turkey agreed to let bases be used by coalition forces for activities inside Iraq and Syria and to train moderate Syrian rebels in the fight against Islamic State.
A U.S.-led military coalition has been bombing Islamic State fighters who hold swathes of territory in both Iraq and Syria, countries involved in complex multi-sided civil wars in which nearly every country in the Middle East has a stake.
After days of Islamic State advances, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said Kobani’s Kurdish defenders had managed to hold their ground. The Observatory said 36 Islamic State fighters, all foreigners, were killed the previous day, while eight Kurdish fighters had died. The figures could not be independently verified.