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Kurdish President Barzani: ‘Use Every Means’ to Protect City of Kobani

ERBIL, Iraq — The president of Iraqi Kurdistan urged the international community Friday to "use every means" to protect a city in neighboring Syria from an impending attack by Islamist militants. Fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) were besieging the predominantly Kurdish city of Kobani, also known as Ayn al-Arab, having already seized at least 21 surrounding villages on Syria's northern border with Turkey. Several thousand Kurds began crossing from Syria into Turkey on Friday, fearing the attack.

"I call on the international community to use every means as soon as possible to protect Kobani," said Masoud Barzani, the president of Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region in a statement. "[ISIS] terrorists... must be hit and destroyed wherever they are." Kurds in Syria have taken advantage of the civil war to carve out a region of their own in the country's northeast, fending off attacks by ISIS who have proclaimed an Islamic caliphate straddling the border with Iraq. The U.S. began air strikes in Iraq last month when ISIS threatened the Kurdish capital Erbil. President Barack Obama has also authorized surveillance flights over Syria.

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— Reuters