Kobani Kurds between Erdogan, ISIS and Assad

Today's good news from Kobani is tempered by some very disturbing news. Medhaj News, citing sources on the ground in the ISIS-besieged town in northern Syria, reports that Kurdish fighters have now captured more than 80% of Kobani, with just two ISIS-held pockets left in the east. This is a dramatic turn-around from just a week ago, when ISIS was in control of some 40% of Kobani. Simultaneously, however, the Syrian opposition network in its electronically coordinated consensus process, agreed to adopt the slogan "Yes to Turkey's Conditions for Intervention"—with the announcement on Facebook actually showing the image of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a glorified pose.

Kurdish fighters turning the tide at Kobani

Kurdish fighters at Kobani are starting to gain ground against ISIS forces, days after the jihadists had penetrated the besieged town in northern Syria. Images on the Daily Mail website show Kurdish YPG fighters triumphantly raising their flag above Tel Shair hill in the west of the town, where the black jihadist flag ISIS had recently been flying. The report emphasizes the role of US air-strikes in the turn-around, and also claims the YPG has started to press local youth into its ranks in a conscription drive. The Washington Post shows images of the latest US strikes on ISIS positions at Kobani, and notes that the US-led military campaign has now been officially dubbed "Inherent Resolve."

Turkish fighter jets bomb PKK positions

Turkish fighter jets carried out air-strikes on supposed positions of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in Dağlıca district of southeastern Hakkari province near the Iraqi border late Oct. 13. The Turkish General Staff said the targeted PKK forces had been involved in "assassination, armed incidents and attacks on security bases" after last week's nationwide Kurdish protests. A Dağlıca military guard post had been attacked with rocket-propelled grenades by the PKK for three days, Turkish authorities said. Clashes were also reported between the military and PKK fighters in the Tunceli area of east-central Turkey. The fighting is the first since the PKK's imprisoned leader Abdullah Ocalan called a unilateral ceasefire in March 2013 to mark Kurdish New Year as part of a wider peace process.

PFLP: solidarity with Kurdish struggle against ISIS

From the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), Oct. 13:

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine expresses its solidarity with the Kurdish resistance in Kobane struggling to defend themselves and their community from the reactionary armed group, ISIS, whose entry into our region has been facilitated and supported by imperialist powers and their lackeys.

Iraq: ISIS near 'complete control' of Anbar

Iraq's western governorate of Anbar is on the verge of completely falling into the hands of ISIS unless urgent action is taken, the Anbar Tribal Council warned Oct. 8. The Tribal Council is backing central government efforts to beat back ISIS but has protested Baghdad's appointment of Lt. Gen. Rashid Fleih as head of the Anbar Military Command, calling for him to be replaced as inept. Fghting between ISIS and Iraqi government and tribal forces has left more than 500,000 Anbar residents displaced since December. Tribal Council member Ibrahim Faris said: "It is strange that while ISIS is developing its presence and capabilities on the ground in Anbar, military and security leadership are not doing anything new to address this. As a result of this, most parts of Anbar province are now completely in ISIS's hands, including Ramadi city center." He added: "Unfortunately, the military has become a source of assistance for ISIS because for the most part ISIS is able to attack and defeat the military, taking control of their arms and equipment."

Kobani in the balance; Kurdish protests escalate

ISIS militants have captured the headquarters of Kurdish fighters defending the northern Syrian town of Kobani, with the UN's Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura warning that thousands will likely be massacred if the town falls. Massively outgunned Kurdish militia are struggling to prevent ISIS forces from closing off the last escape route for civilians still in the area, prompting an appeal for urgent military aid. US warplanes have intensified air-strikes against ISIS positions at Kobani, but ISIS now controls 40% of the town, according to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. "The capture of the headquarters will allow the jihadists to advance on the border post with Turkey to the north of the town," Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP. "If they achieve that, they will have the Kurdish forces inside Kobani completely surrounded."

Kurds protest across Turkey as ISIS enters Kobani

As ISIS forces penetrated the besieged north Syrian town of Kobani, setting off street battles with Kurdish defenders, Kurds across Turkey took to the streets in angry protests at Ankara's inaction. Authorities in the southern province of Mardin declared a curfew in six districts after clashes with police, but Kurds continue to take to the streets in defiance of the order. One young protester was killed in the southeastern city of Mus as police fired on demonstrators—some of whom were armed, by Turkish media accounts. In Diyarbakir, Turkey's largest Kurdish city, two were killed and 10 others injured as Islamist militants attacked Kurdish protesters, sparking a shootout. Protesters reportedly fired shots in the air in the eastern city of Batman. In Istanbul, police used tear gas and water canon to disperse angry protests in Kurdish neighborhoods, and clashes were also reported between demonstrators and Turkish nationalist gangs. One protester was shot in the head and critically injured in the city's Sarigazi district. In the Kadikoy neighborhood, human rights lawyer Tamer Dogan was badly wounded after being hit in the head by a tear-gas canister.

Will world betray Kobani?

The main Kurdish armed group in Syria on Oct. 3 again called on Kurds across the region to help prevent a massacre in Kobani as ISIS forces closed their ring around the town and pummeled it with artillery fire. The statement issued by the YPG vowed "never ending" resistance to ISIS in its advance on Kobani. "Every street and house will be a grave for them." It urged: "Our call to all the young men and women of Kurdistan...is to come to be part of this resistance." Turkish soldiers meanwhile lined up on the neaby border—but rather than intervening to stop the ISIS advance, used armored vehicles and water cannons to prevent Kurdish PKK fighters from crossing to come to the aid of besieged Kobani. Turkish forces also prevented Kurds fleeing Kobani from crossing into Turkey. Refugees who had managed to escape from ISIS-held territory told reporters at the border the usual tales of torture, beheadings and rape. The sad spectacle came on Eid al-Adha, an important festival day in the Muslim calendar. (The Guardian, Reuters, Oct. 3)

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