Islamic State Attacks Two Cities in Northern Syria

BEIRUT (AP) -
Turkish soldiers stand as smoke billows from the Syrian town Kobani following the attacks by IS militants as seen from the Turkish side of the border in Suruc, Turkey, Thursday. (AP Photo)
Turkish soldiers stand as smoke billows from the Syrian town Kobani following the attacks by IS militants as seen from the Turkish side of the border in Suruc, Turkey, Thursday. (AP Photo)

After weeks of setbacks, the Islamic State group launched swift counteroffensives Thursday on predominantly Kurdish areas of northern Syria, killing and wounding dozens and setting off car bombs, activists and officials said.

The two-pronged attack on the northeastern city of Hassakeh and the border town of Kobani came two days after an Islamic State spokesman acknowledged that the group might lose some battles but would not be defeated. The spokesman, Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, had urged terrorists to strike back at their foes during the Muslim special month of Ramadan and “shake the ground beneath them.”

Thursday’s fighting in Kobani killed 35 civilians and Kurdish fighters, and 14 terrorists, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. It was the first time in six months the terrorists, who set off three car bombs, had managed to enter the town, the group said.