ISIS Makes Gains Against Kurds In Syrian City Of Kobani

The Turkish-Syrian border town of Kobani is closer to falling into ISIS hands after weeks of attacks against the Kurdish troops defending it.
Posted at 10:46 AM, Oct 07, 2014

ISIS fighters have reportedly entered the besieged city of Kobani on the Syrian-Turkish border, bringing the fight for a strategic Kurdish stronghold in Syria to the streets.

Kurdish fighters defending the city have been steadily pushed back since mid-September, when ISIS caused more than 160,000 Syrians to flee from the region to Turkey. (Video via YouTube / YPG in Syria)

U.S.-led coalition airstrikes have tried to help, but it hasn't been enough to prevent the Kurds from losing ground inside the city.

Recent footage from Monday appears to show ISIS' advance so far, with its black flag hoisted above a building within Kobani and on a strategic hill overlooking the city.

Losing Kobani would be a huge blow to the Kurds, who've been defending against ISIS since before the jihadist group thrust itself into the international spotlight by storming northern Iraq.

But some analysts note there are implications beyond the Kurds simply losing more territory.

A Turkish analyst interviewed by Syria Deeply, a Syrian civil war watchdog, says the fall of Kobani would complete ISIS control over the region: "Kobani is like an island trapped among ISIS-controlled territory. ... They are trying to seize the area to connect the areas under its control."

And writer for The Washington Post says if the border town falls, it will potentially allow for more supplies and fighters to be smuggled into Syria.

But one might wonder why Turkey, whose parliament recently voted in favor of allowing its troops to cross into Syria to combat ISIS, seems to be doing nothing in response to the group's presence right on its border.

A Turkey-based correspondent for Al Jazeera says the siege actually puts the country in a tight spot, summing it up like this:

"Turkey doesn't want to see an autonomous Kurdish-area on its border with Syria, while it doesn't want [ISIS] to be in power either. And it doesn't want Bashar al-Assad to take control of the area either."

Turkey has long wanted Syrian President Bashar al-Assad out of power and, according to one analyst at the Carnegie Endowment, wants the U.S.-led coalition to attack Assad and not just ISIS.

Turkey has also called for a no-fly zone over Syria and a buffer zone, both of which would be aimed at disrupting Assad's power.

This video includes images from Getty Images.