Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Horror of Kobani: The Savagery of ISIS Laid Bare !

Survivors of the fighting in Kobani have described the horrors they witnessed as Isis militants took control of parts of the town from Kurdish forces. These refugees, staying in Suruc, Turkey, have told The Daily Mail how relatives and neighbours were beheaded by the militants, while another spoke ''hundreds'' of decapitated corpses in the besieged town.

Armin Fajar, 38, father-of-four who left Kobani and crossed the border to Suruc, said ''I have seen tens, maybe hundreds, of bodies with their heads cut off. Others with just their hands or legs missing. I have seen faces with their eyes or tongues cut out - I can never forget it for as long as I live.''  Belal Shahin, another refugee in Suruc, told MSNBC, ''Isis came into the villages. They beheaded people as well as animals. They took some animals and the girls; they left nothing alive. Even animals don't do what Isis is doing. They are doing these things and it's not acceptable to our religion.''

ISIS militants have laid siege to the town for nearly four weeks and fought their way into it in the past week. On Friday, the UN Syria envoy warned the hundreds still trapped in Kobani will be ''massacred' by the militants if the town falls, where only a small corridor remains open for the people to flee. More than 200,000 have already escaped across the border to Turkey but up to 700 remain inside the town. Some good news came from a video yesterday showing fighting in the streets of Kobani, showing Kurdish fighters holding their ground and even catching attackers in an ambush, killing 36, of which all were foreigners.

The battle for the Syrian town has also sparked major protests in Turkey against its perceived inaction, with the media showing its tanks lined up on a border hilltop overlooking Kobani. But
Turkey faces a deadly dilemma. The Turks could be forced to take military action in a conflict they have been trying to avoid with Isis. The hesitation of President Tayyip Erdogan (photo right) is based on the fact that ISIS is holding 44 of its diplomats, taken at the Turkish consulate in Mosul many months ago, with the threat of being killed if Turkey enters the conflict.

As ISIS is pouring reinforcements into Kobani, there is a growing mismatch between the opposing sides while the Turkish government still refuses to allow a corridor between the border and Kobani to allow Kurdish volunteers from Turkey and Syria to join the fight, prompting the Kurds to accuse Ankara of siding with the Islamic State.  ISIS could force Turkey's hand, if it takes Kobani and threatens a religious shrine in a Turkish enclave there. (see photo left) This is the Tomb of Suleyman Shah, the grandfather of the founder of the Ottoman Empire. The territory surrounding the complex, about the size of two football fields, is physically located inside Syria but considered Turkish territory. Turkey has told ISIS that any attack on the tomb and the 60 elite special forces guarding it would
constitute an attack on Turkey. This move that could draw NATO into the fight to defend Turkey, a member of the 28-nation Western military alliance.

The underlying problem is that Ankara sees the Kurds as a greater danger than the Islamic militants. Turkey is also concerned about the gains the Kurds have made in the Syrian civil war.  For 30 years now, Turkey has battled a self-rule insurgency, mounted by the Stalinist Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, and the Kurdish People's Protection Unit (YPG) which is an offshoot of the PKK. Turkey opposes actions that boost the strength of the Kurds, potentially giving the PKK additional leverage to push for autonomy in Turkey. There is now a faltering peace process with those 15 million-strong Kurds, but PKK activists said if Kobani falls, then the peace process will be finished. Turkey is sort of stuck between ''a-rock-and-a-hard-place.''

The fight for Kobani will test U.S. strategy that at a pussy President Obama's insistence has been limited to air strikes, depending on uncertain local allies on the ground to do the actual fighting. U.S. officials say they are angry that Turkey has refused to do more to avert a slaughter, largely because of its own bloody history with the Kurds. The second piece of the U.S. strategy involves training as many as 5,000 moderate Syrian rebels per year to fight ISIS on he ground. But that's a long term Bashar Assad than in combating ISIS.
Turkish Tanks Overlooking Kobani from Turkish Border
gambit with no guarantee of success, in part because many of the rebels are more interested in fighting their three year old civil war against Syrian strongman

ISIS has frustrated air strikes by abandoning key outposts - which would be easier to hit - and breaking into smaller units. The terrorists are also moving into civilian areas they know the coalition won't bomb - especially without intelligence from on-ground scouts. Obama has refused to dispatch such spotters as part of his ban on U.S. ground troops in the conflict. Former CIA Director General Michael Hayden stated that many of the targets in Syria hit by U.S. air strikes were ''easy targets'' and that obtaining good intelligence for choosing air strike targets is a major problem.

The Way I See It.....the U.S.-led game of ''whack-a-mole'' has been under way across much of Syria and Iraq since the end of September -- and so far the moles are winning. ISISs success helps explain why, last week, the U.S. began deploying AH-64 Apache helicopters against the militants. The low-and-slow gunship is better than a jet bomber for attacking moving targets. But helicopters are more vulnerable to ground fire than jet. ISIS recently shot down a pair of Iraqi choppers, killing all four pilots aboard. For a President who wants to defeat ISIS without ground forces, the options are

UPDATE:   A few hours ago Kurdish fighters took down the Black Flag of ISIS from a hill, Tell Shair, they captured overlooking Kobani. ISIS militants erected it at the beginning of their siege to intimidate the Kurdish defenders and it became the goal to retake the hill and kill as many of the Islamic filth the flag represented.

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