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Kurdish fighters in fierce clashes, struggling to repel Islamic State group from border town

  • A Syrian Kurdish refugee who fled Kobani, walks in a refugee camp in Suruc, on the Turkey-Syria border, Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014. Kobani, also known as Ayn Arab, and its surrounding areas, has been under assault by extremists of the Islamic State group since mid-September and is being defended by Kurdish  fighters. The onslaught has forced more than 200,000 people to flee across the border into Turkey.(AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

    A Syrian Kurdish refugee who fled Kobani, walks in a refugee camp in Suruc, on the Turkey-Syria border, Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014. Kobani, also known as Ayn Arab, and its surrounding areas, has been under assault by extremists of the Islamic State group since mid-September and is being defended by Kurdish fighters. The onslaught has forced more than 200,000 people to flee across the border into Turkey.(AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)  (The Associated Press)

  • A Syrian Kurdish refugee who fled Kobani, carries a mattress to the family tent at a refugee camp in Suruc, on the Turkey-Syria border, Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014. Kobani, also known as Ayn Arab, and its surrounding areas, has been under assault by extremists of the Islamic State group since mid-September and is being defended by Kurdish  fighters. The onslaught has forced more than 200,000 people to flee across the border into Turkey.(AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

    A Syrian Kurdish refugee who fled Kobani, carries a mattress to the family tent at a refugee camp in Suruc, on the Turkey-Syria border, Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014. Kobani, also known as Ayn Arab, and its surrounding areas, has been under assault by extremists of the Islamic State group since mid-September and is being defended by Kurdish fighters. The onslaught has forced more than 200,000 people to flee across the border into Turkey.(AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)  (The Associated Press)

  • Syrian Kurdish refugees go about their lives outside their tents in a refugee camp in Suruc, on the Turkey-Syria border, Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014. Kobani, also known as Ayn Arab, and its surrounding areas, has been under assault by extremists of the Islamic State group since mid-September and is being defended by Kurdish  fighters. The onslaught has forced more than 200,000 people to flee across the border into Turkey. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

    Syrian Kurdish refugees go about their lives outside their tents in a refugee camp in Suruc, on the Turkey-Syria border, Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014. Kobani, also known as Ayn Arab, and its surrounding areas, has been under assault by extremists of the Islamic State group since mid-September and is being defended by Kurdish fighters. The onslaught has forced more than 200,000 people to flee across the border into Turkey. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)  (The Associated Press)

Syrian activists and Kurdish officials say fierce fighting is underway in a Syrian border town where Kurdish militiamen are struggling to repel advances by the Islamic State group.

The battle for Kobani is raging despite airstrikes by the U.S.-led coalition targeting the militants.

A Kurdish official, Ismet Sheikh Hasan, says Saturday's clashes are focused in the southern and eastern parts of the town. He says the situation is dire.

The director of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Rami Abdurrahman, says the town's Kurdish fighters are putting up a fierce fight but are outgunned by the militants

Since the militants launched their onslaught on Kobani in mid-September, at least 500 people have been killed and more than 200,000 have been forced to flee across the border into Turkey.