Kobani defenders claim advances against ISIS

A joint force of Syrian Kurdish YPG militia, Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga and Free Syrian Army (FSA) units have launched a new offensive at the besieged border town of Kobani, driving back ISIS fighters from villages west of the city. The ISIS positions also continue to be targetted by US-led coalition warplanes, with the last air-strike reported Nov. 3. Peshmerga Commander Ahmed Gardi told BasNews: "Coalition airstrikes shelled the militants in the southern part of Kobani in order to prevent them from taking control of the strategic Murshid Penari gate." The joint force, now consisting of some 2,000 fighters, is now said to be fighting in the villages of al-Badour, Manaze, Arbosh and Chigor. Grad missiles brought by the Peshmerga force have also helped turn the tide. However, the Kurdish-led force is still outnumbered two-to-one by the ISIS fighters besieging Kobani, who have tanks and heavy artillery. And even as ISIS is driven back at outlying villages, fighting still continues within the urban area of Kobani. (Rudaw, Bas NewsKurdish Question)

Kurdish children from Kobani have been tortured and abused by ISIS militants, Human Rights Watch (HRW) finds in a new report. ISIS reportedly abducted 153 Kurdish boys on May 29, and held them at a school in Manbij, 55 kilometers outside of Kobani. Many of the boys escaped or were released over the summer, and the last 25 boys were released on Oct. 29. Four of the boys gave detailed accounts of the abuse to HRW officials in Turkey after they were released in late September. The boys described repeated beatings with a hose or electric cable, and said they were forced to watch videos of ISIS militants beheading captives. They also told HRW that ISIS guards beat the children that tried to escape, did poorly on their mandatory religious lessons, or misbehaved in the eyes of their captors. The boys that had familial ties to the YPG reportedly suffered most in ISIS captivity. The four boys were given no explanation of their release, just that their religious training was complete. (Jurist)