Fehim Tastekin writes: I called Idris Nassan, the Kobani canton’s deputy foreign relations minister, to ask how many civilians remain in Kobani. “Don’t ask me for a number because it could be misleading,” he said frankly. Then he went on: “There are many civilians who have not fled the city. Thousands of other people are waiting in the area between the Turkish border and Kobani. Some families who have sons and daughters fighting in the People’s Protection Units (YPG) ranks have stayed in their homes. Others are [physically] unable to leave. Some people, on the other hand, stay along the border but return home periodically to feed their livestock. IS controls 25% of the city, but life is still going on in a way. The administrative units remain largely operational. Only the Asaish [security forces] building has been seized by IS, while all other public buildings remain open.”
According to the UN special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, about 500-700 mostly elderly people remain in Kobani, while 10,000-13,000 are stuck in a nearby area close to the Syrian-Turkish border.
Is the YPG alone? Is there any other group fighting alongside them? Has the Euphrates volcano, the joint operation room the YPG set up with the Free Syrian Army and some elements of the Islamic Front, broken up? Isn’t there anyone backing the YPG?
According to Nassan, the following groups side with the YPG: Suwar al-Raqqa (Raqqa Revolutionaries), Suwar Umnaa al-Raqqa, Jabhat al-Akrad (Kurdish Front), Shams al-Shimal (Northern Sun), Ahrar al-Suriya and Shukr al-Sefira. He did not provide any figures for [the fighters of] those groups. [Continue reading…]