DAMASCUS, July 15 (Xinhua) -- As many as 900 Kurdish fighters have entered Syria via Turkey over the past few days to defend a predominantly Kurdish city in northern Syria against the al-Qaida- breakaway Islamic State (IS) militant group, activists reported Tuesday.
The Kurdish fighters crossed into Syria to join other Kurdish militant groups to defend the city of Ein al-Arab, known as Koban in the Kurdish language, against the IS, whose fighters have besieged the country's third largest predominantly Kurdish city.
According to the report, the fighters have arrived in Ein al- Arab upon the calls of the Kurdistan Workers Party, known as the PKK.
The downfall of the city would mean that the IS could swiftly move east toward other Kurdish cities in Syria, and the Syrian Kurds have been deadlocked in battles with the IS since last year.
The IS, previously known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, has seized large chunks of territories in Iraq and Syria. Recently, the group declared the establishment of an Islamic Caliphate in areas under its control in Syria and Iraq and shortened its name to the Islamic State only, becoming the strongest among other jihadist groups in Syria and the richest radical organization in the Arab world.
Syria's Kurds amount to some 15 percent of Syria's 23 million populations, among which most live in the north of the embattled country. They tried to keep their areas immune from military operations during the conflict and retain some kind of "autonomy."
However, fighting has broken out in northern Syria between the Kurds and other jihadists groups, namely the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front and recently the IS, covering all the Kurdish areas in northern Syria.
The Kurds have so far managed to hold their ground in a number of Kurdish areas but they feel threatened by the growing power of the IS.