Kurdish populations throughout Turkey are visibly angry at Prime Minister Erdogan and President Obama’s decision to stand by and watch their brothers and sisters slaughtered by ISIS in Kobane (Kobani) Syria. The anger has the possibility of tearing apart a tenuous dynamic within Turkey…
Meanwhile Team Obama actually says: ‘meh, no biggie if 10,000 or so Syrian moderates are killed fighting ISIS, we’ve got a great plan to train and arm 5,000 over the next year’.
Wait, wha… no… huh?…
U.S. officials: “ISIS will capture Kobani, but it’s not a big concern to us“
TURKEY – […] The likely fall of Kobani may mark an irrevocable breach between Turks and Kurds in Turkey, Syria and Iraq. Many of the 30 million Kurds in the region believe that, if Kobani falls, it will be because Turkey refused to help its defenders as they faced repeated Isis assaults and cut them off from reinforcements and fresh supplies of weapons and ammunition. “We are besieged by Turkey, it is not something new,” said Ismet Sheikh Hassan, the Kurdish Defence Chief for the Kobani region.
The already faltering peace process between the Turkish government and its Kurdish minority could be a long-term casualty of Kobani, particularly if its capture is accompanied by ritual massacres of surviving defenders by Isis.
[…] One observer in Turkey writes: “These events could turn what began as a general humanitarian protest at the abandonment of the besieged in Kobani into a headlong collision between the Kurds and the Turks.”
The fall of Kobani will give Isis control of a large part of the 510-mile Syrian frontier with Turkey. This will be a further incentive for Turkey to establish a buffer or ‘safe’ zone on the Syrian side of the border, though this would shift Turkey towards becoming a military participant in the civil war. It plans to use a Turkish-controlled zone to train anti-government fighters and to house Syrian refugees.
The Turks were not alone in abandoning Kobani to the Islamic militants. The US was careful not have any direct liaison with Kurdish fighters on the ground though local intelligence should have made their air strikes more effective and might have stopped the Isis advance. Over the past 24 hours, these strikes have increased in number but may come too late as Isis militants fight street to street.
The US campaign against Isis is weakened not so much by lack ‘boots on the ground’, but by seeking to hold at arm’s-length those who are actually fighting Isis while embracing those such as Saudi Arabia and Turkey who are not. There is a similar situation in Iraq, where most of the fighting against Isis is by the Shia militias from which the US keeps its distance.
As Isis closes in on Kobani, the city’s defenders have been abandoned. They may have hoped for assistance from the Syrian government, with whom they have a truce, but there are no reports of Syrian aircraft in action at Kobani though bombing Isis there would have been keeping with Mr Assad’s claim to be defending Syrians from Isis.
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Kobani: A brief history – Kobani started out in 1912 as a stop on the Konya-Baghdad railway and was populated by Armenian refugees fleeing the forces of the Ottoman Empire in 1915. The name “Kobani” may be a corruption of the word “company”, although in Arabic the town is called Ayn al-Arab or “the spring of the Arabs”.
Kurds and other groups also moved into the town, which was developed under French rule in Syria after the end of the Ottoman Empire. Most of the population was Kurdish but also included Turkmen, Arabs and Armenians. The 2004 census gave Kobani’s population as 45,000, but the outlying districts were home to hundreds of thousands of people in villages. In 2012, Kurdish People’s Protection Units took over control of the own and other Kurdish areas from the Damascus government, in what was seen as a deal between Kurds and the Assad regime. As the war continued, Kobani became a haven for those escaping the fighting. Some reports say 160,000 people have left Kobani for Turkey recently. (link)