Kobane: some good news at last

October 9, 2014 at 11:05 pm (anti-fascism, genocide, Human rights, islamism, kurdistan, Middle East, posted by JD, solidarity, war)

Some encouraging news at last:

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Kurdish forces have halted an advance by militants of the Islamic State (ISIS) on Kobane and are in control of most of the Syrian border town, Kobane’s top official said Thursday.

Anwar Muslim, head of the Kobane canton in Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava), said that the People’s Protection Units (YPG) and the people of Kobane have most of the city under control. He added that morale is high.

Speaking to Rudaw by phone from Kobane, Muslim said that town officials have remained inside and will not be scared away by the ISIS.

“ISIS is using heavy weapons to bombard (the town), but YPG fighters are resisting and have halted their advance,” he said.

ISIS militants launched a fresh offensive inside the Syrian Kurdish town on the Turkish border overnight, seizing control of a market area in the east, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said earlier Thursday, after U.S.-led airstrikes appeared to have pushed the jihadists back earlier in the day.

From across the Turkish border, the sound of heavy gunfire and shelling could be heard late into the night from just across the frontier and plumes of black smoke could be seen rising from several parts of the Syrian town.

SOHR said that ISIS fighters had advanced up to 70 meters inside the eastern edge of Kobane, capturing the al-Hal market in the town’s industrial zone, after receiving military reinforcements from the outside.

Muslim pleaded to the international community and the Kurdish parties to assist the besieged town.

“I ask the countries of the world and all the Kurdish parties and the Kurdistan Region to aid Kobane and clear it of ISIS,” Muslim said.

Intensified US airstrikes all this week relieved some of the pressure on the town, which has been besieged for more than three weeks.

(From Rudaw.net; h/t Comrade Coatesy)

5 Comments

  1. lamia said,

    Sadly, as of Friday 10th October afternoon, it looks like ISIS have returned and have 40% of the town. The Kurds have been well and truly stiffed by our NATO ‘ally’ Turkey, and air support has been too little and too late. They’ve also been let down by western politicians, and especially most of the left. If the left was ever in search of a cause, why on earth not the Kurds?

    Kerry has inisted that Kobani is not a strategic priority, but (a) it will constitute a huge stategic victory for ISIS, (b) it will have meant a considerable anti-ISIS fighting force killed or neutralised, and (c) it was a missed opportunity to bleed ISIS. It’s all very well targetting ISIS command near Raqqa etc, but simply elminating enemy numbers is itself the best way of incapacitating ISIS. You can only command the forces you have. It is a disaster. We can only hope that those who die fighting inflict a heavy toll on ISIS fighters, and that as many civilians as possible can be got out.

  2. Jim Denham said,

    Resolution

    “This branch/ CLP calls on the Parliamentary Labour Party to respond to the emergency in the Kurdish Syrian city of Kobane under siege by Islamic State (IS).

    The population of Kobane had been swollen by tens of thousands of refugees from outlying areas fleeing the genocidal force of IS (ISIL/ ISIS). During IS’s war on the region, in addition to the beheadings of UK victim Alan Henning, there have been mass beheadings of Kurdish people who opposed IS’s advance.

    Air strikes will not defeat ISIS. ‘Boots on the grounds’ are needed but they are already there – they are the Kurdish militias of Kobane in the YPG/ YPJ units of the Peshmerga, a third of whose members are women. They have given IS the only real battle it has ever faced.

    We call on the PLP as a matter of emergency to call on the government and act themselves to:

    · Support, and discuss with representatives of, the popular and democratic forces in Kobane and the wider region of Rojava where democracy has grown over the last 2 years;

    · Openly criticise the Turkish government for its failure to oppose the violently sectarian forces in Syria, including IS, and its refusal to allow arms to the forces defending Kobane from IS;

    · Openly criticise the Turkish government for its growing repression of its own Kurdish citizens as well the refugees from Syria;

    · Demand from all countries in the region that they allow arms to flow to the democratic Kurdish fighting forces (YPG/ YPJ and others);

    · Call for an end to any further military relationship with Turkey unless 1) it allows arms and Kurdish fighters back into Syria to defend their people from IS and 2) takes firm action to combat IS and other opponents of democracy in Syria.”

  3. hop said,

    Good resolution, but utterly wasted in the context of the labour party.

  4. Lamia said,

    I support all that, Jim, but in reality, no resolution will now make any difference to Kobane, especially considering the shameful slowness of our politicians. Either the heroes of Kobane will succeed or they will fail on their own, and it could be over any day, or any hour. All that could possibly save them now is massive round the clock A-10 airstrikes and possibly ammo drops. We’ll take it as given that Turkey will continue to cruelly sit by and hope ISIS wipe out the Kurds.

    Reportedly ISIS is throwing reinforcements in from the south – again a great opportunity one would have thought for US air-power to hit ISIS. As well as saving the people there, Kobane could be – or at least could have been – turned into a massive propaganda victory over ISIS. But even from the most self-interested perspective, the US government doesn’t seem to have grasped this – or the implications even for them of Kobane falling.

    For what it’s worth, I don’t think this is even some conspiracy by Obama, Kerry and co. I think they still really don’t get it. For the past half year or more they’ve shown they are catching up too little, too late and in no hurry. That actually worries me more than if they knew what they were doing, because at least then they could decide to do things right. I don’t think they even know how to.

  5. Jim Denham said,

    Excellent commentary from Nick Cohen in today’s Observer:

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/oct/12/will-no-one-help-kurds-fight-fascism

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