Understanding Current Conflicts: Kobane

© Wikimedia

© Wikimedia

ISIS forces began attacking the Syrian Kurdish city of Kobane, or Kobani, in September 2014. Due to the city’s prime location, near oil pipelines, supply routes and the Turkish border, it was a strategic target for ISIS to attack and for the Kurds and other allies to defend. At the early stages of the siege, many thought that the city would fall to ISIS control within days, and that such victory would just increase the momentum for the terrorist group in Syria and around the region. (source)

Airstrikes on Kobane

In late September, US coalition led air strikes on ISIS targets alongside Kurdish forces fighting on the ground to slow the siege, but the city was still on the verge of falling to ISIS control in October. Nearly 200,000 people have fled Kobane and surrounding areas, many moving to makeshift shelters or refugee camps in Turkey. (source)

The Turkish government has opened its border crossing for Syrian Kurdish refugees fleeing the violence since the early stages of the siege. However, Turkish government officials have been criticized for not aiding the Kurds earlier to defend Kobane due to tension with Kurdish resistant groups associated with violence in Turkey. In spite of this, Turkey did allow Peshmerga troops, the army of the Kurdish Regional Government of Iraq, to cross through their land in order to get to Kobane to help defend the ISIS onslaught. (source)

With the help of airstrikes from the United States and allies, the Peshmerga and other Kurdish forces have been able to retake control of 70% of the Kobani city as of early January. (source)