A Photographer’s Inside View of Kobani / The Wall Street Journal

A Syrian Kurdish fighter walks through the rubble in the Syrian town of Kobani on Sunday. Islamic State has been attacking the city since mid-September. Frederic Lafargue

The old market lies in ruins. Kobani has become the target of U.S.-led coalition airstrikes against Islamic State militants. Frederic Lafargue

Kurdish militiamen defend their positions on Sunday. Frederic Lafargue

A vehicle damaged by fighting. More than 190,000 Syrians have fled the city to Turkey in recent weeks. Frederic Lafargue

A man peers from a window in Kobani. Frederic Lafargue

Syrian Kurdish fighters move supplies. Frederic Lafargue>
Rebels meet in Kobani. Around one-third of the Syrian Kurdish fighters in Kobani are women, fighters and residents say. Frederic Lafargue
A Syrian Kurdish fighter uses an improvised periscope from his station in Kobani. Frederic Lafargue
The town has been left in ruins by the siege by Islamic State militants and coalition airstrikes. Frederic Lafargue

After weeks of trying and failing, French freelance photographer Frederic Lafargue crossed into Kobani on Friday. The besieged Syrian border city has been under attack by Islamic State militants since mid-September.

A Syrian Kurdish fighter defends his position in Kobani.
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A Syrian Kurdish fighter defends his position in Kobani. Frederic Lafargue

A crater is formed by an unexploded munition in the besieged city of Kobani.
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A crater is formed by an unexploded munition in the besieged city of Kobani. Frederic Lafargue

On Sunday, he began capturing images of its destruction.

Mr. Lafargue said he gained access to the city through a network of locals familiar with the border area. He described the damage as “enormous.”

“I’ve covered a few war zones, but this level here seems quite exceptional,” he said on Sunday.

“The city center close to the border entrance is in rubble,” he said, the result of “coalition airstrikes and the very heavy fighting happening there [for] weeks. The western part is much damaged by the constant [Islamic State] heavy mortar shelling, and the eastern part is almost flattened by the same factors as the central entrance district.”

More than 190,000 Syrians have fled the city to Turkey since the offensive began.

Mr. Lafargue said that he wears a helmet but carries minimal equipment to help him keep up with the Syrian Kurdish fighters who are escorting him through the town. He said he is careful not to take photographs that reveal tactical positions.

Since arriving, Mr. Lafargue said he hasn’t witnessed a clash, “although the sound of [Saturday’s] battle [was] fierce, with permanent machine gun exchanges, numerous airstrikes and mortars landing.”

Related Coverage

Militiamen walk through the destroyed city center.
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Militiamen walk through the destroyed city center. Frederic Lafargue

A Syrian Kurdish fighter takes a break.
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A Syrian Kurdish fighter takes a break. Frederic Lafargue

Corrections & Amplifications

Frederic Lafargue crossed into Kobani on Friday. An earlier version of this article incorrectly said he entered Kobani on Saturday.

Link: http://m.wsj.com/articles/a-photographers-view-of-kobani-1417403506?mobile=y&mod=e2tw

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