Interview with YPJ Commander in Kobane and Mishtenur Hill

YPG Tree

We discussed the recent situation in Kobane and the situation of Mishtenur Hill with the Senior Commander of Kurdish Women’s Protection Units (YPJ) Meryem Kobani.

Mutlu Civiroglu


Ms. Kobani, it has been stated that YPG and YPJ had some gains today. What is the latest situation on the war front?

We can generally say that our forces hit ISIS hard in many locations. They received major blows on various routes from places such as Raqqa, Tal Abyad and Jarablus where they receive reinforcements from. They were hit badly on the skirts of Mishtenur Hill thanks to guerilla tactics by small groups. Two or three times, they attempted to launch attack inside the city, but we stopped it and they couldn’t move forward. Moreover, many ISIS militants were killed by the air strikes. They can no longer move around as they wish like they used to. They will face the guerilla tactics of YPG and YPJ not only in Kobane but every route they try to attack.

Could you elaborate on what you mean by the guerilla tactics for our readers? Do you mean hit and run?

You should hit the enemy forces whenever you get the opportunity. And they won’t be able to determine where the attack is coming from. You should be everywhere; spread like fungi but should be also hiding. The enemy forces shouldn’t be able catch up with you even when they reach the origin of the attack. We can call that guerilla tactic.

What recent change or incident allowed your forces to advance in this manner?

ISIS has transferred all its forces to our region and we have gained experience in time. This is a rule of war. The longer you fight the enemy, the more battle experience you gain and the more efficient your struggle becomes. Coalition airstrikes and support from peshmergas are also important

You said that you can block the support for ISIS no matter which direction it comes from. Is it true that ISIS receives continuous support from Raqqa, Jarablus and Tal Abyad?

Of course! Yesterday and last night, reinforcements arrived. They continuously get help and heavy weaponry from everywhere. But, from now on we will hit every point that the help reaches and turn it into their graves.

From what I understand, you don’t have the complete control of the Mishtenur Hill, but you have effective forces on the routes up to hill as well as towards Kobane. Is that correct?

Yes, but from now on we will be everywhere.

It has been two months since the beginning of the battle. How do you foresee the future situation in Kobane. There is a hope, a belief both among the Kurds and other peoples of the world that you will liberate Kobane from ISIS. What do you think about this?

The attacks started 60 days ago at 9 pm on the eastern front. I have been active in the war since the beginning. The international powers backed us up. I want to mention this. We are Kurds but we really are not fighting only for the Kurds in Kobane. We are fighting for the humanity against this terrorist organization targeting humanity.

In the previous interview we had, you mentioned that you thought of all the women of the world when you have your finger on the trigger of your gun.

Yes, certainly. When I have my finger on the trigger of my gun I think about Kurdish women, all the women in the world and those who think of freedom and peace in mind.

On November, the 1st, the whole world was on the streets to support you. What would you like to tell to the global public and especially the women of the world about the struggle in Kobane?

The war in Kobane is an international war. The liberation of Kobane would open the door for the liberation of the Middle East. Just at the beginning of the war, I said that the Kobane would be the Stalingrad of the Middle East and bring the peoples together. Many people asked why I said such thing. I stated that we wouldn’t be alone; that millions would see the injustice and support us. Because we are in our own country, in our own lands.

Those who defend human rights in the world cannot turn a blind eye to this truth in the 21st century. I thought every person, every country and every force with a conscious would take a stance against this injustice. Many people ask how I foresaw this. In the beginning, we were on our own; we fought alone against tanks and cannons with our will. But I had hoped. I believe that those in the right will get what they deserve.

The hope you mentioned seems to have become everyone’s hope now. American journalist Richard Engel from NBC was in Kobane couple of days ago. He praises YPG and especially YPJ. He states that your fighters have become a symbol for the whole world in the fight against ISIS.

I believe that this hope will become many people’s, millions of women’s hope. The fight that we fight against this barbaric organization targeting humanity in the name of Islam will become the source of a modern future for those who support the real Islam.

How are ISIS fighters doing? You can see them at the front and listen to their conversations on the radio. How is their morale?

The rule of war dictates that you should act as if your enemy is very strong even if it is weakened. We know that our enemies are experiencing difficulties.

Is it possible that the forward move will continue in the upcoming days? The general public is very optimistic about this.

I don’t want to give away too much at the moment. I have a target in my mind; I can explain everything once I reach there. When I left that place I swore that I would come back.

From your voice, I can tell that you are not far from that place?

I am hopeful. Right at this moment, I am at an emplacement and looking at that place.


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


Thanks for Çağla Orpen for translating this interview into English

Update From Kobani (October 6, 2014)


According to sources inside Kobani, as if October 6 7:30am UTC the city is still under the YPG control. City center was shelled all day on Sunday by the tanks stationed on south of the hill which is under ISIS control.

Civilians death and injuries were reported although the exact numbers are not known.

Contrary to what is widely reported, there are still many civilians in the city. Ayse Efendi, Cochair of Kobane Council and the wife of PYD leader Salih Muslim estimates there are 10-15 thousand civilians still in the city.

Kobane Defense Minister Ismet S. Hasan says heavy fighting especially continued near Mistanour Hill.


“ISIS wanted to attack the city with a vehicle full of explosives but YPG forces detected and destroyed the vehicle.”

Hasan also informs that a commander of Women’s Protection Units (YPJ *) Arin Mirkan detonated herself in a self-sacrificing mission to among a group of ISIS fighters.

Meanwhile coalition forces also conducted airstrikes around 02:30 local time against ISIS targets on Mistanour Hill and Termik Village.

Since access to areas targeted by coalition jets is either none or quite limited, real effectiveness of the attacks are unknown.

However, Hasan stated his content about coalition airstrikes calling them important.

“US airstrikes are important and we value them. We hope there will be more frequent strikes against ISIS targets who continuously shell the city. Airstrikes can be more effective if they are day time because ISIS predicts the strikes and act accordingly.”

* YPJ is the the women only military force of the YPG. Some experts estimate about 35% of the YPG fighters are women.

**This report is written from the information obtained from Hasan and several other sources inside of Kobani.


For feedback, quote or interview requests, please contact me at

You can follow me on Twitter for latest updates from Kobani