Tag Archives: FSA

Kurdish-Arab Rebel Alliance May be Key to Obama’s Syrian Strategy

*Kurdish-Arab Rebel Alliance May be Key to Obama’s Syrian Strategy

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By Mutlu Civiroglu and Wladimir Van Wilgenburg

Now that the anti-ISIS coalition has struck Raqqa in Syria, it must seriously consider the Kurds as its most effective on the ground partners. The Obama administration needs local partners in Iraq and Syria to fight against the jihadist group, the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS, ISIL, or the Islamic State) if it hopes to maintain any gains resulting from its attacks on ISIS positions.

A spokesperson of the main Kurdish armed group in Syria highlighted the importance of Kurdish assets. “Whoever wants to destroy ISIS should take YPG into consideration. Let me say clearly that any strategy in Syria without YPG is doomed to fail,” the People’s Protection Units (YPG) spokesperson Polat Can said in our interview with him. Given the Kurds’ extensive experience and professionalism, they represent the best the best chance to revitalize a beleaguered Syrian resistance and help President Obama achieve his objectives.

In his September 10 speech, President Obama ruled out the Assad regime as a partner in fighting ISIS and emphasized strengthening the Syrian opposition. “We must strengthen the opposition as the best counterweight to extremists like ISIL, while pursuing the political solution necessary to solve Syria’s crisis once and for all,” he said. While admirable that the president choose not to work with a man whose preferred strategy involves bombing his own civilian population, it leaves a dearth of effective partners on the ground. However, in Syria—just as in Iraq—cooperation between Kurds and Arabs could play a key role in eliminating ISIS. US Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey recognized the fact that Kurds constitute an important part of Obama’s new strategy to fight ISIS.

Although Iraq has witnessed firsthand the effects of ISIS-induced instability, neighboring Syria has suffered far more with the advances and atrocities of the extremist group. ISIS has succeeded in wiping out many Syrian nationalist armed groups that comprise the bulk of moderate anti-Assad opposition. Both the moderate Free Syrian Army (FSA) and the Kurds have faced attacks by ISIS, leading to incredibly large refugee flows into Turkey.

Nonetheless, the Kurdish YPG forces have successfully fought ISIS and won most of its battles in both Iraq and Syria. Not only was the YPG an asset in the rescue operation for thousands of Yezidis fleeing from Iraq’s Sinjar, it also secured a wide area in northern Syria from the Kurdish city of Afrin to Yarubiya, a town border to Iraq, despite the extremist push against Kurdish villages. These regions maintain relative stability compared to other parts of Syria, allowing Kurds, Arabs, and Christians to live peacefully together, thanks in large part to the ability of the YPG to keep a modicum of security.

Western diplomats have traditionally been reluctant to meet the PYD for their ties to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), viewed as a terrorist group in the United States and Turkey. After successful operations against ISIS extremists, however, both countries have begun reevaluating their positions towards it. The Wall Street Journal reported that US officials recognize the fact that Kurdish fighters in Syria may play a critical role in the campaign against ISIS, and have conducted talks with Syrian Kurds. The success of the YPG also prompted Turkish journalist Amberin Zaman to write about how the fight against ISIS has given the YPG and the PKK more legitimacy.

For their part, the Syrian Kurds have not only expressed interest and enthusiasm in pursuing Obama strategy against ISIS, they have already laid the groundwork for cooperation with Syrian nationalists. In an interview with Voice of America (VOA), YPG Spokesman Polat Can said, “We are the most experienced military force fighting against IS, and we are willing to actively participate in the international coalition. We are currently meeting many countries on this issue including with those who are decision makers.”

As the YPG continue its fight against ISIS on several fronts, it hosted a former rival on August 22. FSA Colonel Abdul Jabbar al-Oqaidi sought to mend fences with the Kurds by meeting YPG commander with General Commander of YPG Sipan Hemo in the Kurdish city of Afrin, north of Aleppo. Al-Oqaidi, the former head of the FSA’s military council in Aleppo, initially angered the Kurds by fighting jointly with Islamist groups against the Kurds in Aleppo. The FSA said it attacked the YPG for supporting Assad. Kurds allege this led to the killing of nineteen Kurdish civilians and the kidnapping of at least 400 others by the various rebel groups.

But in January last year, alliances started to change, when the Free Syrian Army clashed with ISIS, and lost huge swaths of territory in Syria, including Raqqa and the oil fields in Deir Ezzor. This led new cooperation between rebel groups and the Kurds, resulting in an agreement between the YPG and the Ahl as-Sham operation room in April last year to fight ISIS in Aleppo, and to cooperate against Assad. On August 22, al-Akidi and an FSA-delegation apologized for the FSA’s past mistakes, saying that Kurds, Christians, and Arabs, should work for the overthrow of the Syrian regime. “We want to work with the Syrian National Coalition (SNC) and the FSA if they accept the rights of Kurdish people and correct past mistakes,” Hemo said in a video.

In an exclusive interview, the Defense Minister of local Afrin Canton government Abdo Chilo, who took part in the meeting between the YPG and the FSA in Afrin, also told the Atlantic Council that the FSA wants to open a new page with the Kurds. “We told him we accepted his apology and we valued his visit. He realizes the power of YPG and wants closer relations with us, something we have long desired as well.”

The Kurds appear ready to fight alongside any secular group that will work for a pluralistic and democratic Syria against ISIS and the Assad regime. “We value Akidi’s visit and his request of help from YPG. It shows his willingness to work and create something good. We are ready to form a joint front with FSA and work against IS thugs and the brutal Assad regime,” Chilo added.

YPG spokesman Polat Can told Turkey’s daily Radikal that they are ready to work with anyone who is willing to fight against ISIS. “It has been over two years that we have been fighting against ISIS and like-minded extremist groups. We are keen on collaborating with moderate that respect to democracy, human rights and accept our national rights as Kurds.”

This historic meeting signifies a major starting point for effective cooperation against ISIS as well as the Assad regime. The meeting led to the formation of a new joint FSA-YPG operations room named “Euphrates Volcano” on September 10 in Kobane, which will carry out operations in areas surrounding Kobane, including the ISIS-stronghold of Raqqah. One day after its formation, the joint operation room carried out its first attack against ISIS in Qara Qawzak.

Abdurrahman Saleh, a spokesperson for ISIS, confirmed in our interview with him an alliance between Syrian anti-Assad rebels and Kurds, but suggested it to be a local alliance rather than a cohesive policy. “Some battalions of al-Tawheed brigade in Aleppo cooperate with the YPG against ISIS, but I do not know if this is a general decision, or a specific case. It may be a local agreement, rather than an overall strategy,” he said.

The new rebel alliance between the Kurds and the FSA could provide a determining factor to stop the expansion of the ISIS caliphate. If the FSA and the YPG can maintain a joint front, it will likely have a major impact on the success of fight both the militant group and the Assad regime in the longer run. The YPG, with its experienced and skilled fighters and strong popular support can provide a morale boost for the secular and moderate Syrian opposition and be a determining factor in preventing ISIS expansion in Syria. For Obama and the anti-ISIS coalition, keeping the Kurds incentivized to be their boots on the ground will be the key to fighting this war.

Mutlu Civiroglu is a Kurdish affairs analyst focusing on Syria and Turkey. He has been closely monitoring YPG’s fight against IS and other jihadist groups. You can follow him on Twitter @mutludc

Wladimir van Wilgenburg is an analyst of Kurdish politics for the Jamestown Foundation and a contributing writer for Al-Monitor

* This article was originally published on Atlantic Council Website on September 23,  2014

Urgent Appeal to International Community from Kobane Officials

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Horrifying Image of Devastation in Kobane

While the historical resistance of the People Protection Units (YPG) and the Women Protection Units (YPJ) continues against Daash terrorists, making a major victory with their heroic steadfastness, the rubble of destruction and devastation throughout the city increases.

Moreover, the negative effects of the war on Kobane civilians from children, women and elderly people accumulate either inside the city or on the boarder points with Turkey.

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Children are living under tough circumstances in Kobane

Therefore, the possibility of living and pursue life almost become impossible and even warn of an impending humanitarian disaster. Especially hard coldness of winter and spreading of residues harmful projectiles further endanger lives of human and other beings.

But, despite the destruction and devastation of Kobane Canton, its resistance takes a global and humanitarian dimensions beyond its borders, reflecting the human values and objectives. The sacrifices of its heroes and defenders become general humanitarian gains that turn their steadfast city to a global defender front for the international community and humanity as whole.

The above mentioned impose on everyone’s duty to support and provide help to them as long as the security and safety of all of us in danger.

The Executive Council in Kobane Canton salutes the heroic resistance of YPG, YPJ, Free Syrian Army (FSA) and Peshmerga forces against Daash in an ordinary meeting today.

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Kobane Defense Chief General Ismet Hasan and Peshmerga Commander General Ahmed Gerdi

The Council members appreciate sacrifices of the mentioned common forces and salute their bravery and honest commitment to defend the noble humanitarian values and their strenuously quest to build a democratic, fair and equal society, which shares peace and tranquility regionally and globally.

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Kobane Children Are Under Threat of Continues ISIS Shelling

The Council members, at the same time, saddened with the  global indifference towards Kobane, expressing their deep regret for the failure of the humanitarian organizations and democratic countries to the worsening humanitarian situation where Kobane civilians exposed from all sides to instantaneous indiscriminate shells and continuing attacks of Daash, killing and injuring many of them.

In addition to, great challenges left by the suffocating siege on the province, making providing life means and its essential things impossible. With the gradual disappear from the stocks of food, medicine and baby milk of warehouses or destroy completely by bomb shelling.

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Dr. Welat Omer and Medical Team Delivering Aid to Displaced Kobane Residents

So, there is possibility of a humanitarian catastrophe against civilians if the international community does not take the initiative to meet the calls of our citizens and defenders to open a safe humanitarian corridor to cleanse the effects of missiles, bombings and the rubble of destruction.

We appeal international community to make very effort to save the lives of children and other civilians by offering them through support and aid of medical, food and preventive fundamentals.

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The Executive Board of Kobane Canton, Syria

Prominent Journalist Zara Misto Analyses the Situation in Kobane

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Zara Misto is prominent journalist and Chief Editor of http://www.Welati.net who has been in Kobane since ISIS attacks against the city. We have discussed the situation in Kobane and balance of war between YPG and ISIS.

Mr. Misto, what is the latest situation in Kobane? What is taking place in war front, what is the situation of the air strikes?

As you know the clashes have been going on for over two months with no respite. In the past week, there were very intense fights took place, and many ISIS militants were killed in these clashes. Of course Kurdish forces also had martyrs.  After the clashes on the eastern front, in Sukul Hal and industrial region and regions near Asayish, the Kurdish forces made progress and got a few new points under its control. These gains were partially made possible by peshmergas’ attacks with cannons on positions under ISIS’s control.

Last week an ISIS tank was destroyed in an operation carried by the YPG forces in south of Kobane. American warplanes have been striking ISIS’s positions in eastern and western fronts when needed. We can say that ISIS has not been able to move forward. To the contrary, the Kurdish forces are moving forward, despite continuous support that is flowing to the ISIS from Manbij and Raqqa. However, the fact that YPG forces now control some important ISIS supply routes provides a significant advantage for the Kurds.  I can tell you that ISIS is suffering a great loss of morale, while Kurdish forces are making important gains.

You say the morale of the YPG, Peshmerga and the FSA are high, and ISIS is suffering a great loss of morale. But somehow a desired progress is lacking, isn’t it?

25-30 % of Kobane is in the hands of the ISIS. They exercise control over, Kaniya Ereban and Miqtela regions in the east, and over the 48th Street in south. The strategic attacks of the Kurdish forces cost ISIS great losses, hundreds of them got killed, they have thousands of wounded. Of course Kurds also have some 200 losses and wounded. This symbolizes a great resistance. The latest tactic of the YPG was based on –rather than gaining new grounds- to wait for their attack and kill as many of them as possible. This tactic has worked successfully. The more ISIS attacked, the more they suffered casualties. As you can see, the reason why there has not been a noticeable pull-back [by ISIS] is that there is a street by street fight in the city. As in the case of Aleppo, in all Syrian cities the same thing is taking place.

ISIS was planning to quickly take control of the Kobane city which it besieged from three sides and attacked with cannons and tanks. The fact that it has failed to establish control over the city yet, is truly a great success of the YPG. As I have stated, Kurdish forces have wrested a few new points from ISIS. I want to add that ISIS wanted to advance by means of suicide bombing and other savage methods, but that failed too due to YPG’s taking effective precautions against such attacks.

Public opinion ties gain to taking control of a new place. However you say that the real deal is to inflict losses on ISIS. That is the YPG implements hit- and-run tactics, did I understand it correctly?

Yes, exactly! Hit and run tactics are being implemented by YPG. With these tactics, we inflicted heavy casualties on ISIS and took control of new places from them.

Yet, I want to add a point here: some places that ISIS withdraws from carry the danger of being booby-trapped or ambushed. To clear things, require time, this is the rule of street fight.

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Nevertheless, we can say that Kurdish forces have been greatly successful. Both the peshmerga and the US airstrikes had a great impact on this. The terrorist organization ISIS that targeted the world is breaking down in Kobane day by day. If the aid and airstrikes of world countries continue in this manner, ISIS will pull back completely; it will suffer a great defeat in both Western and Southern of Kurdistan [Syrian and Iraqi Kurdistan].

Some in the international media write that peshmerga forces failed to display a positive or expected impact. How do you evaluate the support that peshmerga forces provide to the YPG?

The heavy weapons that peshmergas use play an important role in our attacks. ISIS cannot advance due to these strikes that target ISIS positions. Take away the US airstrikes and the recent peshmerga involvement; it would have been much harder to defend Kobane as YPG had very light weapons against the ISIS.

There were some Free Syrian Army (FSA) groups under the name of ‘Euphrates’ Volcano’ before and another FSA group under Abdul Jabbar Akidi came in later on. The arrival of latter created a huge ruckus. What would you say in this regard?

Groups that are fighting under the name of ‘Euphrates’ Volcano’ are Tuwar al-Raqqa, Shams al-Shamal and Jabhat al-Akrad. Ever since the attacks on Kobane started, these groups suffered tens of martyrs and wounded. The newly arrived FSA group of Akidi came in as a result of some external powers. YPG agreed on their arrival but they have no impact at all. They were about 50 people and approximately 15 of them went back. They went back due to disagreements among themselves, not due to any reason relating to the YPG. Those who remained have not joined in battle yet.

If they have not joined the battle, why are they there?

They said they wanted to enter Kobane and help. We are still waiting to see!

I wanted you to evaluate the role of the YPG a bit. While two months have passed since the siege of Kobane, how would you evaluate YPG’s role and the struggle it pursues with coalition forces in this war against the ISIS?

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The YPG was first to draw world’s attention to this ISIS danger that now threatens everybody. A year ago, the YPG made this call and in Rojava and other regions has protected the Kurdish, Christian and Arab population. We drew the attention to the fact that ISIS was the enemy of the revolution in Syria and a threat to the entire Middle East. The YPG suffered hundreds of losses in its fight against the ISIS. We can say that today the YPG represents the whole world, because the ISIS threatens the entire world. While couple of months ago only experts knew its name, today it is known world-wide and YPG is becoming a brand name for the Kurds.

The YPG pursues the war within the rules of the international law. For example, it captured a wounded emir (prince) of ISIS and took him to the hospital for treatment. We do not kill the war captives. That is we behave like the army of an international state. The YPG is defending its people, it did not attack anyone. Kurds, Syriacs, Arabs and Turkomans make up the ranks of the YPG, and lately, fighters have joined us from America and Europe. Not only now, but for a year now the YPG is gaining success.

On November 1st, there were demonstrations for Kobane world over. How did this affect you as a civilian, knowing that you were not alone and Kobane was not forgotten?

This was a very important development for the YPG and civilians in Kobane. That is because Kobane has shouldered an important duty for the entire world. ISIS is targeting the entire world and the YPG as an organization is struggling for her people and for the entire world because ISIS is a threat for entire globe. With the collaboration of the YPG, the peshmerga and Euphrates’ Volcano and the American airstrikes, we believe that we will rout the ISIS from the entirety of our region.

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For my participation to a show, interview me or get a quote on Kobane and other Kurdish related issues, please contact me at mciviroglu@gmail.com

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Thanks for Burhan Elturan for translating this interview into English

Kobane Defense Chief Hasan: We Want Turkey to Change Its Faulty Attitude Towards Us

Defense Minister of Kobane Canton Ismet Hasan (3rd on the right) with peshmerga commanders and YPG fighters

Mutlu Civiroglu https://twitter.com/mutludc

Interview conducted on November 6, 2014

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Mr. Hasan, we are informed that the clashes continue at the eastern front, shelling and mortar attacks at the western front. Can you update us about the recent situation?

As you also now, it has been 54 days that Kobane has demonstrated a historical resistance. ISIS is bombing our citizens waiting at the border in the western front and also at the Tilsahr Hill. The clashes have not stopped since the first day at the eastern front. They try to recruit forces from surrounding cities and continue attacking us. As long as Kobane is surrounded by attacks from all three fronts, it is always going to be dangerous for Kobane. Since the winter came, people at the front lines are having many difficulties.

You stated that ISIS attacks with bombs. The coalition was assuming that it destroyed most of the heavy weaponry of ISIS, is that not true? Do they continue to attack you and civilians comfortably because they still have a big amount of weaponry?

They have mortars such as the M57s, they have a tank in industrial zone and they are using it heavily. When airstrike starts, they hide those and when it stops, they take them out again and attack.

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You mentioned about cold weather, what are the needs of people between Suruc and Kobane, and at the border, what can be done for those?

These civilians are under terrible conditions. There is no house or tent that they can stay in. They sleep outside. There are many women and children. We try to at least provide them with basic needs such as food, but it has become a huge challenge for us as the weather is getting colder. This is a very serious problem that needs urgent attention. Also, there are some civilians still in the city and they cannot go out because of continuous attacks and shelling.

Firstly, we want a safe corridor for these civilians. Secondly, today a group of young men and women wanted to come to Kobane to support us from the other side of the border. However, because of the attacks by Turkish soldiers, a young woman lost her life and a few got injured. We are going through a very though time. People who had crossed the border to Turkey are being shot when they want to come back to support their city. We want them to allow our people to cross the borders.

How do you interpret the attitude of Turkey in this regard?

Turkey has a faulty attitude towards us and we want it to change. We are not fighting against Turkey; we are fighting against the terrorist group ISIS that does not only target Kurds, but the whole world. If they attack us here today, they are going to attack Turkey tomorrow. They have organized crimes in many cities and killed many civilians. For instance, in Iraq, they killed about 400 people from a tribe. Turkey needs to reanalyze its politics and alter them. We are neighbor with Turkey and as Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and as Kurdish Women’s Protection Units (YPJ); we are fighting against a terrorist group, ISIS. Even if Turkey does not provide any support, it should stop to interfere and attack our people so we can carry out a more efficient resistance.

The world media is watching you closely and writing very positively about you. There were protests in all over the world a few days ago. What do you want to say about this?

This is very important for us. We want to thank all those who support us. We will never forget the airstrike support of America and international coalition. Turkey is out neighbor and they should have reacted accordingly, but what can we say. The support from people of different countries in the same date has increased our morale. Today, when YPG and YPJ fight against terrorism, they do not do this only to support Kobane or Kurdish people, but for the people of the world.

We are talking about a terrorist organization that has carried attacks in many European countries including Spain and France, and we still remember September 11 attack. They have one hand in Baghdad and one in Lebanon, one other in Raqqa and nobody dared to resist against this group, but us. ISIS took control of Mosul, which has a population of 4 million, within a few hours, the same is true for Raqqa and Manbij, however, even though they surrounded Kobane, they were not able to win and therefore, they are fighting us wholeheartedly. For this reason, we need the support of international community and we send our greetings to those who already did so.

You said that ISIS attacks with all its strength; can you say that new forces arrive in the last days?

According to information provided to us, additional forces are joining them from Talabyad, Raqqa, Manbij and Jarablus. As we understand from the radio, a lot of their members are coming from Afghanistan.

Some media sources claimed that YPG retook some villages from them. However, YPG sources disputed this, what is the issue here?

No, there is not any village that we retook now. Yesterday, 9 ISIS members were killed in the conflict that emerged in Ebruşk village.  We just got Tilsahr back, but nowhere else. However, our forces go to the villages and attack ISIS. For instance, they attacked ISIS in Karamox, which is about 20 km from here, but they withdrew. It is true that we advanced a little bit in the city, but there is not any village that we saved yet.

What is the role of peshmergas, what are you going to tell about them?

It is a very positive thing. 150 people may not be a big as a support materially, but they are a big support morally.  It is an honor for us that peshmergas came from the southern Kurdistan to here for us. Kurds are being slaughtered every few years. We want Kobane to be the last one. A national army should be established and Kurds need to defend themselves.

Are peshmergas fighting only at the western front or at all fronts?

Not only at the western front, but anywhere we need them most to work with heavy weaponry. They work with 57’s, mortars, Katyushas, whichever is needed in whichever front.

I want to ask about Abdul Jabbar Akidi’s group. Are they also fighting actively and supporting YPG? It is speculated that some left the group. Is that true?

Previously, some groups named “Euphrates Volcano” from Free Syrian Army (FSA) were with us. It has been 8-10 months we have been fighting together and they lost a lot of martyrs. Lastly, a group of 50 from Akidi came to Kobane, but we did not really want them. Instead, since ISIS are in many other areas in Jarablus, Azaz and many other Syrian cities, we wanted them to collaborate with Kurds from Afrin or other areas and do something in those areas. However, they refused it saying that they do not have the power to do so, but instead wanted to come to Kobane to fight. We want an egalitarian, democratic Syria where everybody has a say and for this reason we accepted them. While they throw mortars, they are not actively fighting yet. I do not know, but 9-10 of them went back. But as I said we have our doors open to everyone, who wants to support this mission.

You see YPG and YPJ fighters and peshmergas while you go through the war fronts. How is their morale in general?

YPG, YPJ, and peshmerge forces are fighting together. This is a very crucial thing for us morally and our morale is very high because of this. We are hopeful that we will achieve significant results in a short time.

We want to thank again to the United States, Europe and the coalition for their support. As long as they support us in our struggle, our resistance will prevail. They need to know that Kurdish people are brave. We will continue resisting and they should keep in mind that their support is very crucial for us and for our resistance against ISIS.

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For my participation to a show, interview me or get a quote on Kobane and other Kurdish related issues, please contact me at mciviroglu@gmail.com

You can follow me on Twitter for latest updates from Kobani  https://twitter.com/mutludc

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Thanks for Demet Arpacik for translating this interview from Kurdish into English

In Day 50, A Synopsis of the Situation in Kobane

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Mutlu Civiroglu https://twitter.com/mutludc

According to military, political and civilian sources in Kobane, in the day 50 of the resistance,  YPG has been gaining a momentum after successfully repelling strong ISIS attacks in eastern front which aimed at seizing the border crossing. Despite excessive man power and close combat in eastern front, YPG forces did not allow ISIS to advance.

With recent offensive in eastern front, ISIS hoped to seize the border gate to Turkey to totally suffocate the city and force YPG to surrender. Senior YPG sources report ISIS resorted to more than 20 car bombs in recent days, and all of these attacks were thwarted successfully with only some light YPG injuries.

One other reason for the recent ISIS attack on east was to prevent arrival of the Iraqi Kurdish peshmergas and heavy weaponry they brought along. As of November 3, the situation in eastern front is stable and ISIS members were further driven out from the border area. Kobane sources report that the failure of recent ISIS push caused demoralization of ISIS, and killing of 3 princes in last 48 further even worsened the situation on the ground.

On Sunday night clashes continued in East and South with some YPG advance reported. In Western front Kurdish peshermergas first time actively involved in a major assault. In this front YPG, “Euphrates Volcano” and Peshmerga forces carry out attack against ISIS positions in Abrus, Albalur and Minaz villages.

YPG Kobane

One other note is that US led coalition airstrikes have been playing a major role in destroying heavy ISIS weaponry which caused serious damages and destroyed many houses in the city. Sources in Kobane add that ISIS shelling decreased thanks to successful airstrikes.

However, it is still too early to conclude that the danger is over and ISIS is defeated. It is not secret that ISIS has made Kobane a matter of honor and will not give up easily. Therefore, despite recent major setbacks, ISIS forces in Kobane still receive reinforcements from Raqqa and surrounding cities, and some field commanders were replaced with new ones.

It is also reported that the arrival of peshmergas has brought a positive atmosphere for the Kurds and considerably lifted the spirit of YPG fighters on the frontline as well as the civilians in the city.

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If you want my participation to a show, interview me or get a quote on Kobane and other Kurdish related issues, please contact me at mciviroglu@gmail.com

You can follow me on Twitter for latest updates from Kobani  https://twitter.com/mutludc

FSA Groups Fighting against ISIS in Kobane Appeal for Help

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Chief Commander of Shams al Shamal Abu Leyla denies some reports that ISIS now controls 40% of Kobane. He says what ISIS controls is roughly 25% of the city.

Abu Leyla appealed US and West to supply them heavy weapons to be able to more effectively fight against ISIS who attack them with heavy weapons.

Abu Leyla was injured from his right hand with shrapnel on Monday, but he returned fighting after a quick recovery.

Similarly, General Abu Ismaeel of Liwa Thuwwar al-Raqqa, another FSA group fighting alongside YPG in Kobane against ISIS had asked immediate help from the US and the West.

Abu Ismaeel had warned that a huge disaster is on its way for Kobane unless the international coalition immediately interferes.

YPG and local FSA brigades and battalions [Tuwar al-Raqqa, Shams al-Shamal, al-Tawhid (East), Saraya Jarablus, Kurdish Front and some other smaller groups] declared a joint military operation room called Burkan al-Firat [Euphrates Volcano] on September 10, 2014

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See Reuters Video showing Kurdish YPG fighters and Free Syrian Army clash with ISIS in Kobane

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gg8HOZyOLBU

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Below is a recent article “Kurdish-Arab Rebel Alliance May be Key to Obama’s Syrian Strategy” written by me and Wladimir van Wilgenburg about the YPG and FSA cooperation. This piece was published in Atlantic Council on Septe,ber 23, 2014.

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If you want my participation to a show, interview me or get a quote on Kobane and other Kurdish related issues, please contact me at mciviroglu@gmail.com

You can follow me on Twitter for latest updates from Kobane  https://twitter.com/mutludc

Liwa Thuwwar al-Raqqa Leader Appeals for Urgent Help

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General Abu Ismaeel of Liwa Thuwwar al-Raqqa, an FSA group fighting alongside YPG in Kobani against ISIS asks immediate help from the US.

Abu Ismaeel warns that a huge disaster is on its way for Kobani unless the international coalition immediately interferes.

“We do not understand why the US led coalition airstrikes is just bombing the empty bases of ISIS terrorists, but not Kobani where they are launching fierce attacks.”

General Abu Ismaeel also says they are shocked because of Turkey’s position regarding the fighting on its boarders, but so far Ankara has not made any move.

Source: VOA Kurdish http://www.dengiamerika.com/content/article/2472265.html

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Reuters Video of YPG and FSA fighting together agaisnt ISIS in Kobani

Kurdish Demo in Support Besieged Kurdish City Kobani, Washington, DC

KOBANI NEEDS YOUR VOICE! *

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Dear Community members, human rights activists and peace advocates,

The Kurdish city of Kobani (aka Kobane / Ayn al-Arab) in Northern Syria has been under brutal attack by the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS/ ISIL/ IS) for 20 days now.

Despite the heroic resistance of the Kurdish Protection Units (YPG) and the people of Kobani, ISIS has the advantage of sophisticated US weapons it seized from the Iraqi Army in Mosul and has surrounded the city.

Unfortunately, the Kurds only have light weapons, which are no match for the heavy ISIS weapons such as Humvees and Abrams tanks.

If the international coalition against ISIS does not act immediately by carrying out more effective airstrikes against ISIS around Kobani, a large scale massacre similar to that carried out by ISIS against the Ezidi community in Sinjar, is imminent.

While we applaud President Obama for his determination in “degrading and destroying ISIS”, we are saddened by his inaction against ISIS in its attack on Kobani.

If the international community, especially the US, does not act immediately, thousands of people will face execution by ISIS.

As the leader of free world, the US has the moral responsibility to support the Kurds, who are fighting against ISIS both in Syria and in Iraq.

The coming hours are fateful and pivotal for the people of Kobani. We need to stand up and make our voices heard, to the White House and to the entire world.

Please join us in front of the White House in an effort to draw public attention to this very critical situation.

When: October 4, 2014

Where: In front of the White House

What Time: 3:00 pm

* This statement was sent by the Greater Washington Area Kurdish Community

YPG And FSA Forms Joint Operations Command Against ISIS

YPG_FSA_Kobane

Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) has formed a Joint Operations Command with the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and other armed Syrian opposition groups in the Euphrates region in an effort to combat the growing threat of ISIS.

The formation of the Joint Operations Command, composed of opposition groups fighting in the region, was proclaimed at a military ceremony attended by representatives of the all parties.

An FSA commander read out a statement during the ceremony in which it was declared that the goal of the Joint Command was to save the Euphrates region – or the area around Karakozak, Sarrin, Jarablus, Minbij and Rakkah – from the ISIS threat.

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Previously top YPG and FSA met  on August 22, 2014 in city of Afrin north of Aleppo. Both parties have agreed to create a common front to fight against ISIS which is preparing for new offensive in north of Aleppo to seize the border crossing with Turkey.

ypg_fsa

From the Kurdish side, YPG General Commander Sipah Hamo, Head of Afrin Canton Defense Affairs Abdo Chilo and from the FSA ,Colonel Abdul Jabbar al-Aqidi and some other commanders participated this important meeting.

https://civiroglu.net/2014/08/24/ypg_fsa/

Top YPG and FSA Commanders Met for Cooperation against ISIS

Top Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and Free Syrian Army (FSA) met  on August 22, 2014 in city of Afrin north of Aleppo.

Both parties have agreed to create a common front to fight against ISIS which is preparing for new offensive in north of Aleppo to seize the border crossing with Turkey.

YPG and FSA Commanders
YPG and FSA Commanders

From the Kurdish side, YPG General Commander Sipah Hamo, Head of Afrin Canton Defense Affairs Abdo Chilo and from the FSA ,Colonel Abdul Jabbar al-Aqidi and some other commanders participated this important meeting.

Sources close to meeting parties also state that YPG and FSA agreed to fight jointly against Assad regime as well.

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In some videos circulated on the internet last year, Aqidi was appearing with extremists with speaking anti-Kurdish remarks. It is significant that Aqidi now visits YPG, which has risen as the main power fighting ISIS in Syria, and asks their cooperation.

See my recent piece on VICE YPG fight against ISIS 

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Also, see August 23 The Guardian report on ISIS fighters mass on Syria’s north-western frontier as it seeks to reopen its main artery for foreign fighters.

“ISIS Surges Towards the Borders of Turkey as West Mulls Options”

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/aug/23/isis-islamic-state-surges-to-turkish-border?CMP=twt_gu

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