The situation in Kobane is getting tougher by the hour – fierce fighting around the outside and in the outskirts between the defenders of the Kurdish town and ISIS forces. Protesters are still contesting the border held by the Turkish army, the Kurdish leadership has called for millions of Kurds from Turkey to go to the border. Kurds are protesting all over Europe. Oxford Circus was closed this afternoon by Kurdish protestors demanding assistance for Kobane:
People on the net keep predicting the fall of Kobane –of course Kobane might fall quickly, but the resistance has been astonishing so far, and there must be quite a few thousand fighters in there, plus the whole remaining population is mobilised. They are preparing to fight street by street, ISIS won’t find it easy.
So it is very important for us not to take the fall of Kobane as a foregone conclusion, but to keep making protesting and demanding weapons for the defenders. The more protests there are, the more pressure there is on the coalition to restrain Turkey and provide effective military assistance to Kobane, and the longer it goes on, the more people support the Kurds and understand how disgusting the coalition tolerance of Turkey’s behaviour is, so the higher the price the coalition countries will pay whatever the upshot in Kobane. Foreign Minister Davutoglu has said they don’t want Kobane to fall (not) – but nothing is being done to stop that by Turkey or its allies, in fact the opposite, as Turkey is more and more blatantly supporting ISIS, moving in new weapons, treating wounded fighters in Turkish hospitals.
Millions of people are seeing the battle on TV – anyone who has Hotbird satellite can watch it. If there is a terrible massacre, millions of people will know that this has been tolerated by the coalition because they politically support Turkey against people who want independence. Six months ago nobody had heard of Kobane, but now half the world is watching and seeing that the coalition is doing nothing to assist Kobane against ISIS. This will not be forgotten, by the Kurds or by other people. If you don’t have Hotbird, you can find footage on the Kurdish TV websites – Google Med Nuce, Sterk, Ronahi, Newroz. The BBC and Al Jazeera can get live stream and pictures from the Kurdish channels that are there, even if there are no foreign correspondents there.
People should be joining Kurdish demos, posting stuff, as you are, writing to MPs and councillors, whatever is possible. There are thousands of people in Kobane, and if the town fell, who is to say that Turkey wouldn’t also fall back a bit and let ISIS loose among displaced people and refugees who are inside Turkey and not far from the border. Anything to justify Turkish army action when it suits them.
Today’s news is that PYD leader Salih Muslim was in Ankara for talks with security officials and requested that Turkey open the border to allow the passage of Kurdish fighters and weapons into Kobane – quite a good move since it puts Turkey and the coalition and indeed the South Kurdistan peshmerga forces on the spot. Presumably he is asking for PKK, KDP and PUK forces to be allowed to come through – hard to imagine Turkey will agree to PKK, but KDP and PUK have been feebly saying they would send people but cannot because of the security situation. It would give them a chance to put their money where their mouth is and, in the case of the KDP, recover a bit from the disgrace of telling people in Shangal and the Plain of Mosul that they would protect them and then abandoning them to ISIS.
Lastly, if Kobane falls, ISIS will be free up more forces to take more of Syria and Iraq; while doubtless leaving Assad free to reassert control of Aleppo. The stakes here are high in many ways – please do whatever you can to offer solidarity. Useful news agencies are Firat and Hawar; I post a lot of different sources on my Facebook page, and there is a Facebook group called Kurdish Revolution Information Page which brings together Kurdish and other activists. This posts lots of useful information.
Peace in Kurdistan publishes frequent news bulletins and circulates campaigning material; it can be contacted on email@example.com.