Kobani, alternatively spelled Kobane, is a Kurdish town that sits on the Turkish-Syrian border in the Kurdish region of Syria. As a result of the ongoing conflict between the self-styled Islamic State (IS) and Kurdish security forces, Kobani’s current population is unknown.
The area around Kobani has traditionally been home to Kurdish nomads, but in the aftermath of the Armenian Genocide that killed millions of Armenians and Christians in the Ottoman Empire, refugees established a small village near a train station on the Baghdad Railway. Kurdish nomads in the region came to call the village “Kobani,” named after the German company that had built the railway.
Kobani is recognized by Syrian Kurds to be part of Rojava, or Syrian Kurdistan. People’s Protection Units (YPG) forces have held the town since 2012, and have been defending the town from IS forces who have besieged the area. As of January of 2015, the YPG had defeated the majority of IS forces in the area, with the help of Peshmerga forces, Syrian Free Army forces and US-led coalition airstrikes.
Plans to repopulate and rebuild the city are underway, including the construction of a school where Kurdish is taught, something that has long been prohibited.