Kobane fighting: ISIS meets its match in Syrian Kurdish forces

For BBC News, Guney Yildiz reports: Several thousand Kurdish fighters are still in control of Syrian border town of Kobane despite an all-out attack by a much better-equipped and numerically superior İslamic State army since mid-September.

However, their resistance has failed to impress US military planners, whose aim is to “degrade” IS by air strikes in Syria as well as Iraq.

Echoing Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s words, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen Martin Dempsey, predicted two days ago that the town would fall to IS.

But as his views were aired, Kurdish fighters on the ground launched a counter-attack against IS before the jihadists were able to get reinforcements from Raqqa, Jarablus and Tal Abyad to carry out a renewed offensive.

The US military has predicted that not only Kobane, but other towns could also fall to IS.

“We don’t have a willing, capable, effective partner on the ground inside Syria right now,” Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm John Kirby said on Wednesday.

But Kurdish officials inside Kobane have challenged Rear Adm Kirby’s claim, saying that effective airstrikes will save Kobane because there is an effective fighting force on the ground.

Asya Abdullah, a co-leader of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) representing Syrian Kurds, told the BBC that they were ready to work with US-led coalition forces.

“We have provided coalition forces with the coordinates of IS targets on the ground and are willing to continue providing any help they will request,” she said.

Kurdish commanders on the ground say that some of the latest air strikes have been more effective than previously and that this has helped their fighters to push back IS on several fronts.

A senior female Kurdish commander on Kobane’s defence council, Meysa Abdo, told the BBC: “If the coalition is serious about degrading IS, then Kobane is where they should target IS because they have an effective partner on the ground which has successfully fought back against IS alone.” [Continue reading…]

Gen Dempsey and America’s other military leaders could learn a lot for the YPJ — the women heroically defending Kobane. Not only do they give the lie to the idea that men are innately more suited to combat, but they also seem to expose a fallacy around which martial culture has generally been built: that the warrior requires psychic armor, deadening his capacity to feel.

Once the YPJ put on uniforms and pick up AK-47s, they apparently see no need to also assume faces of steel. They seem to have learned how to fight without forgetting how to smile. And I wouldn’t simply put this down to the cheerful disposition of young women. It seems more than that — an expression of humanity.

In contrast, their adversaries in ISIS in the name of their ruthless ideology, have sacrificed their own humanity, thereby turning themselves into heartless instruments of brutality.

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