UN envoy warns of Kobane ‘massacre’, urges Turkey to let Kurds fight

AFP reports: Kurdish residents in Kobane “will be most likely massacred” by advancing Islamic State jihadists, a UN envoy warned Friday, urging Turkey to stop blocking Kurds from crossing into Syria to defend the besieged town.

The plea to Ankara by Staffan de Mistura, a Swedish-Italian diplomat appointed as UN envoy on Syria in July, was a highly unusual one. Normally, the United Nations strives to be neutral in conflicts.

But de Mistura said he was speaking out because of the imminent danger confronting Kobane.

He drew parallels to the 1995 Bosnian war massacre of 300 men and boys in Srebrenica when UN peacekeepers failed to intervene, insisting the world never again could allow something like that to happen.

Reports say the IS jihadists have overrun the headquarters of the Kurdish forces in Kobane after a three-week offensive.

Showing a satellite image to reporters in Geneva, de Mistura said Kobane, which sits just a few kilometres (miles) from the Turkish border, was “literally surrounded” except for one narrow entry and exit point.

There were up to 700 mainly elderly civilians still inside the city centre and another 10,000-13,000 gathered nearby, all of whom were at risk, he said.

“If this falls the 700, plus perhaps if they move a little bit further, the 12,000 people … will be most likely massacred,” he warned.

“We would like to appeal to the Turkish authorities in order to allow the flow of volunteers at least, and their equipment to be able to enter the city to contribute to a self-defence operation,” de Mistura said.

He said the volunteers should be allowed to go “with sufficient equipment to be able to fight and defend Kobane”, but refused to say whether he thought Turkey should provide weapons. [Continue reading…]

The urgency of this appeal is underlined by the fact that ISIS is currently attempting to gain control of the border crossing. If they succeed, Kobane will be fully encircled and the Kurds remaining inside the city will almost certainly doomed.

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