What will it take to save Kobane?


A Kurdish woman reacts as smoke rises from the war-torn city of Kobane, Oct.13, 2014. AFP

ARA News

Kobane, Syria – Admiral John Kirby, spokesman of the U.S. Defence Ministry, emphasized the importance of stopping the advance of IS militants in the Kurdish city of Kobane, northern Syria.

“The Islamic State (IS/ISIL) is attempting to control the area (of Kobane) where they are mobilizing all their members and munitions to achieve this,” Kirby said in a press conference on Friday, stressing that the US-led coalition’s airstrikes “would not be enough to get rid of IS”.

“I said before that Kobane is still liable to fall in IS’ hands. Our airstrikes alone cannot save the city.”

Kirby’s statement followed the announcements of some Kurdish officials that IS members were obliged to withdraw from main strongholds in the city of Kobane.

Baharin Kendal, a Kurdish fighter in Kobane, told ARA News that the IS’ militants “withdrew from their strongholds in the city, except the eastern neighbourhoods”.

Kendal pointed out that the international coalition’s airstrikes helped the Kurdish forces of the Popular Protection Units (YPG) to push IS members out.

American Defense Ministry mentioned that for the first time some of its officials directly contacted Kurdish groups fighting inside Kobane on the battle’s frontline.

This communication has reportedly enabled the U.S. to intensify its airstrikes in the last few days, to achieve direct accurate targeting of IS’ strongholds , after receiving information from the Kurdish forces about the exact locations of the militants.

The US-led coalition carried out more than an estimated 100 airstrikes on IS strongholds in the city hampering the group’s members.

The U.S. Ministry of Defence revealed that some of its officials met representatives of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD).

The spokesman of the U.S. Department of State, Jane Bsaki, pointed out that the convened meeting was within the US strategy to hit the Islamic State, an al-Qaeda offshoot.

Bsaki defined the military wing of the PYD, known as the Popular Protection Units (YPG), saying: “They are deadly defending the Kurdish city of Kobane (at the Syrian-Turkish border) against IS extremists.”

“To help these Kurdish fighters against IS, the US-led coalition carried out more than 100 air raids on IS strongholds around the city,” Bsaki said in a press conference.

However, Bsaki described the meeting as “a quick one”, as Washington does not intend to arm or train “the Kurdish fighters (YPG)”.

Speaking to ARA News, Syrian Kurdish politician Abd al-Salam Maee said: “Americans are not ready to deal with one party (referring to the PYD). However, this is an American pressure card on Turkey for its abstention to fight terrorism and help Kobane.”

Maee pointed out that Masoud Barzani’s (President of Iraqi Kurdistan) coordination with the U.S. is what matters to end the relationship between the Syrian regime and PYD.

“The Americans deal with all issues based on their interests. However, it is useful to work and coordinate with them today to be able to save the region from the threat of IS’ terrorists,” Maee said.

The Kurdish politician and representative of the Syrian Kurdish Yekiti Party in Russia, Abd al-Razzaq Ismail, told ARA News that the U.S. may push the PYD to reach an agreement with the Kurdish National Council (KNC) –a coalition of 16 Syrian Kurdish parties. This way, Syrian Kurds could gain credibility and thus support from the international community in their war against IS, similar to the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Iraqi Kurdistan.”

Ismail pointed out that the Syrian regime would not allow the PYD to make any agreement with other Kurdish forces “under the sponsorship of Iraqi Kurdistan”.

“I think the PYD should deal directly with the regime to solve this issue,” Ismail added.

Meanwhile, representatives of the Kurdish National Council (KNC) confirmed that they held a meeting with some U.S. officials earlier this week and deliberated the current situation in Kobane as well as the possibilities of gaining support for their cause in Syria.

According to observers, unity amongst the Kurdish political forces in Syria may guarantee the Kurdish fighters who are defending Kobane a wide range of international military and logistic support to eliminate the IS militants on ground, backed by U.S.-led fighter jets.


Reporting by: Jan Ali

Source: ARA News

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