[Syria] Kobanê Again

Written by Daniel Sugasti
Tuesday, 07 July 2015 15:21
After ten months of “unstoppable” siege of the Islamic State (IS) and, concomitantly, of heroic popular resistance in the region of Rojava (Syrian Kurdistan), a change in the military dynamics can be noticed.
The impact of the victories against IS in Kobanê and, more recently, at the border of Tal Abyad, seems to have changed the game: the Kurdish and Arab militias have gone on the offensive; the hosts of the “Caliphate”, continuously repelled, have retreated.
The triumph in Tal Abyad [1], a major place on the Syrian-Turkish border, meant the opportunity to “join” two of three Kurdish “cantons” in Syria (Kobanê and Jazira), which in turn can be connected with the Kurdish territory in Iraq. This is essential to ensure a stable supply line.
The impact of the succession of military victories was such that the Kurdish militia, allied with units of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and other Arab brigades as Liwa al-Tahrir and the Firat Burka – which previously was also part of the FSA-, started an offensive against al-Raqqa, the capital of the self-proclaimed “Caliphate”, in northwestern Syria. On June 23, the international press reported that Kurdish-Arab columns were about 50 kilometers from the main stronghold of the IS [2].
Kobanê’s second battle 

In the midst of this string of defeats, the IS tried to retake Kobanê on June 25. At dawn, dozens of jihadist militants disguised in YPG and FSA camouflage uniforms and carrying flags of the People’s Protection Units (YPG, the Syrian Kurdish militias) infiltrated the border of the city. The Kurds complained at the time that the invaders had entered from Turkey. Once in the city, three IS suicide bombers blew up vehicles at the entrances to Kobane and took over positions in buildings at the southeast and southwest entrances, where they began to shoot at close range against Kurdish civilians and military. The intent of the IS – besides trying to retake control of Kobanê – appears designed to divert YPG-led operations away from core IS terrain in al-Raqqa.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that YPG militias quickly positioned themselves and started fighting the IS. For two days they fought intensely. The battle ended only when the Kurdish-Arab militias decided to detonate the last building where IS fighters were stationed. The military death toll was: at least 16 Kurds and 54 jihadists.
It was an important victory, albeit at a high price. The massacre carried out by IS gangs on Kobanê has left 146 mostly civilians, women and children, dead according to SOHR. 120 people injured in the suicide attacks in the town center of Kobanê have died in hospital. 72 civilians were massacred in the Halnaj area while the others were from the Maqtala neighborhood. Of the 200 wounded some are still in critical condition and it is feared the death toll could rise. [3]
But the attack of the Islamic State to the Kurdish stronghold expresses more weakness than strength. It tried to reverse a negative trend and was repelled by the brave Kobanê fighters again.
The second Kurdish-Arab victory in Kobanê, besides being a source of pride and salutation, serves to reinforce the way forward, which necessarily involves the political and military unification of the Arab and Kurdish militias, and from all nationalities to fight the terrible tripod of counterrevolution: the dictator Assad, the IS, and imperialism.
The union of Arabs, Kurds and of all working people would give a tremendous boost to the Syrian and Middle East revolution. Only this would allow their liberation from the double yoke of Assad’s dictatorship and of the “Caliphate.” Only then the Kurds will move towards the conquest of their national self-determination.
[1] Tal Abyad represents an important route for the logistics of IS to al-Raqqa. Among the consequences, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that in al-Raqqa there was a “dramatic increase” in the price of bread and other foods, due to the greater difficulty in accessing supplies.
[2] http://internacional.elpais.com/internacional/2015/06/23/actualidad/1435054076_530290
[3] http://www.kurdishquestion.com/index.php/kurdistan/west-kurdistan/massacre-in-kobane-at-least-146-killed-and-200-wounded/985-massacre-in-kobane-at-least-146-killed-and-200-wounded.html

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