MURSITPINAR, Turkey — Islamic State fighters backed by tanks and artillery pushed into an embattled Syrian town on the border with Turkey on Monday, touching off heavy street battles with the town's Kurdish defenders.
Hours after the militants raised two of their black flags on the outskirts of Kobani, the militants punctured the Kurdish front lines and advanced into the town itself, the Local Coordination Committees activist collective and the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
"They're fighting inside the city. Hundreds of civilians have left," said Observatory director Rami Abdurrahman. "The Islamic State controls three neighborhoods on the eastern side of Kobani."
The center of the town was still in Kurdish hands, Abdurrahman said. Kurdish officials could not be reached.
Capturing Kobani would give the group, which already rules a huge stretch of territory spanning the Syria-Iraq border, a significant victory against a lingering pocket of resistance and full control of a large stretch of the Turkish-Syrian border.
American arrested: A suburban Chicago teenager was arrested at O'Hare International Airport over the weekend on charges he was attempting to travel overseas to join the Islamic State terrorist group, federal authorities said Monday. Mohammed Hamzah Khan, 19, of Bolingbrook, a U.S. citizen, was attempting to fly to Turkey via Austria and then Switzerland, authorities said.