Islamic State forces have made new gains in Kobani, now controlling about 40 percent of the Syrian town of Kobani on the Turkish border and might well capture it, Deputy US National Security Adviser Tony Blinken has said.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen because again in the absence of any ground force there, it is going to be difficult just through air power to prevent ISIL (IS) from potentially taking over the town,” Blinken told reporters at a briefin in London on Friday.

This information is also confirmed by the the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

“They have taken at least 40 percent (of the town),” the head of the monitoring group, Rami Abdulrahman, said by telephone as reported by Reuters.

Islamic State fighters were now in almost complete control of the “security quarter,” which is home to the administrative buildings used by the local government, he said.

The IS militants have seized control over some of the eastern areas of the town and smaller areas in the south of Kobani, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.They have seized the Kurd headquarters also, a monitoring group said.

“They are trying to advance on the crossing from the east … but the YPG [fighters] are resisting them,” Ocalan Iso, the deputy head of the Kurdish forces defending Kobani, told Reuters.

Fighting is also going on between IS and Kurds near a building used by Kurdish internal security forces, according to Kurdish military official. He denied any major advance by IS, though.

Ocalan Iso, deputy head of the Kurdish forces, said Islamic State was still conducting air strikes in the town center with mortars.

“There are fierce clashes and they are bombing the center of Kobani from afar,” he told Reuters by telephone.

Thousands of people “will most likely be massacred” if Kobani falls to Islamic State fighters, UN envoy Staffan de Mistura said on Friday.

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