Massoud Hamed reports: Massive fires broke out In early June in the agricultural areas of this Kurdish-majority city, affecting wheat and barley crops and fruit trees. The Islamic State (IS) used heavy weaponry to target these areas following its late January defeat in Kobani at the hands of Kurdish forces and the international coalition.
Setting these fertile lands ablaze is one of the attempts by IS to intimidate the citizens who returned to Kobani after the group’s departure from the city.
“IS emptied the Kobani countryside and Tell Abyad of its original Kurdish residents through a systematic policy that has been applied since the beginning of the attack on these Kurdish cities in 2013,” Zara Misto, editor-in-chief of Welati Net and its office director in Kobani, told Al-Monitor. “This was done either through military tactics that converted the countryside into a military zone or through burning crops. Six thousand Kurdish families have been displaced from these areas. After the defeat of IS in Kobani and until now, the group’s bomb attacks and fires in many villages have hindered the return of residents to their towns. IS is even rigging children’s toys with explosives, resulting in only a very small number of residents returning — about 10% [of those who left]. This is because the return of residents and life to Kobani is akin to a monumental defeat to this terrorist organization.” [Continue reading…]