In an exclusive interview conducted on Wednesday, Ovober 8, 20014, the Premier of local Kurdish Kobane Canton administration Anwar Moslem provides important update about Kobane and ongoing ISIS attacks against the city.
Mutlu Civiroglu https://twitter.com/mutludc
Mr. Moslem, what’s the current situation in Kobane?
ISIS hasn’t withdrawn yet. ISIS is still in the eastern, southeastern and southern [parts of the town. They are a little away from the western section. Clashes continue so far. Fierce ffightings are taking place. They aim for a massacre. There are thousands of civilians here; children, women and elderly. As the resistance is in its 24th day, they want to crush it spitefully with all the civilians as well. The fact is there is heroic resistance here by Kurdish Protection Units (YPG). American and coalition air strikes are very welcome here by our forces and the Canton administration.
Tell me about the civilians inside Kobane. There are reports that all civilians left the city?
Claims that there are no civilians in Kobane are false. Nobody can, nobody dares to get out of their homes as there are fierce clashes and flying bullets everywhere. There are thousands of civilians under the ISIS threat. Some are here in the city; some others are close to the border. Their situation is getting worse and dangerous. Some media say Kobane is empty. It’s not true. There are civilians even in the villages ISIS has overrun. Their situation too is dangerous. I repeat that there are civilians in the town. I can’t give you an exact number, but there are thousands of civilians here. If the media wants we can provide pictures and interviews with civilians. Our main purpose in calling the international community is protecting these civilians, children and women.
American and coalition air strikes have had effective results in the last two days. When jets strike civilians in the city cheer up. They salute American jets. Defense Ministry of the Kobane administration said, in a statement, that our YPG forces and the coalition partners can root out ISIS from the Middle East.
You mentioned airstrikes. How effective are today’s air strikes?
They are effective today as well. But we cannot know how much exactly. As the fighting rages on we can’t determine the effect. We are in touch with our forces who witness air strikes. But they are usually busy in fighting ISIS militants. We don’t want to keep them busy, so we avoid calling them frequently.
The jets carry out a good mission, especially for the well-being of civilians. That’s why the continuation of air strikes in Kobane against ISIS is important. The destruction of ISIS’s tanks, Humvees and other heavy vehicles is of utmost importance. Today they carried out a car bomb attack. That’s why American, British, French and all other coalition partner’s jets should continue targeting ISIS in Kobane Canton. ISIS receives reinforcement from Tal Abyad and Raqqah. The coalition partners should be tracking them better. They must stop them. So that we can finish them off inside Kobane and save the civilians.
Some media reports claim these airstrikes are useless. Are they?
No, they are pretty effective in last two days. As the head of the Canton Administration, I recognize the fact that they are helpful and effective. ISIS militants are using artillery they brought from Mosul, and it is used against the civilians as well. So why should the coalition stop the bombardment? The coalition is saving these civilians and the canton. So be it known by all sides that YPG on the ground with the American and coalition jets overhead can fight ISIS off.
Is YPG capable of expelling ISIS from Kobane?
Yes, as long as their artillery, vehicles and tanks are destroyed, new reinforcements are cut off; we don’t have anti-tank weaponry by the way, our forces can finish them off. YPG has promised to annihilate those thugs.
What about YPG loses and injuries? How many ISIS fighters were killed?
YPG and Women’s Defense Units (YPJ) are the sons and daughters of this people. Most of these fighters are in their twenties. They fight against ISIS looters, thieves whose aim is destruction.
ISIS commits inhuman actions; they behead even our girls. YPG and YPJ are fighting against such a cruel terrorist group.
A young Kurdish woman Arin Mirkan who was a YPJ commander chose to detonate herself among a group of ISIS members. Rather than surrendering to ISIS, she chose sacrificing her life such in such heroic way.
But, we are hopeful that our forces with the help of the coalition partners can fight ISIS till they are annihilated, and we can rebuild peace and stability once more.
What about the reaction of people around the globe to your case? American people are deeply concerned that the Kobane will fall. Similarly people in other corner of the world have similar concerns for you.
The memory of 9/11 is with us. We especially want to reach out to the American people and their government. We know their suffering too. We remember terrorist attacks against civilians in Spain, France and elsewhere. We are aware of what happened innocent journalists and aid workers at terrorists’ hands.
We, as the administration of Kobane Canton, call upon all sides to challenge the threat together as to create security. We believe in support of the American people and people all over the world.
I would like to tank all human rights defenders in becoming a voice for the voiceless Kobane. I am very grateful on behalf of the people of Kobane. I want everyone to know that fall of Kobane would be the fall of humanity. I therefore appeal everyone to stand up for Kobane and stand with us in these very difficult days.
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This interview was translated from Kurdish into English by Ê Din