By Peter Clifford © (www.petercliffordonline.com/syria-iraq-news-5/)
SYRIA and IRAQ NEWS
By yesterday, Sunday, the YPG had succeeded in curtailing what had become a bloody Islamic State suicide attack on the citizens of Kobane, although a remaining IS insurgent was spotted by residents in the city and eliminated by Kurdish security this afternoon, Monday.
Just How Much More?
Altogether, the attack, which started in the early hours of last Thursday, claimed the lives of 233 people and injured a further 273. 210 of the victims died within Kobane city itself and a further 23 at Berkhbotan village to the south.
14 members of the Kurdish security, the Asayish, as well as others who took up arms died in an attempt to hold back the IS Jihadists.
Of the Islamic State attacking force, which was estimated to be between 80 and 100, all of them were eliminated apart from 7 who escaped across the border into Turkey.
Of 8 x IS Jihadists who fled towards the south, 2 were killed in the Termik area and the final 6 at Korpîngarê. One IS fighter of Egyptian origin was captured alive, seen surrendering, HERE:
On Thursday, Kobane was in complete chaos and its citizens who thought they had returned to a secure and safe city, found themselves in a place of terror. Imagine is this was your street? (Some disturbing and distressing images), HERE:
The bulk of the fighting ended after the last group of IS Jihadists were cornered at the unoccupied Rash Secondary School and attacked with Kalashnikovs and grenades HERE:
After directing Coalition aircraft to the scene, the school was largely blown to pieces, HERE:
Rudaw Kurdish media has a report from the scene with English sub-titles, HERE:
Clearing IS From the Streets of Kobane
At least 60 x IS Jihadists have been confirmed killed, while further bodies are still being discovered.
YPG sources have confirmed that most of the IS attacking force came from the Sarrin area in the south-west part of the Canton and having shaved their beards and donned YPG/FSA uniforms, they were able to pass through YPG and Asayish checkpoints to reach the city.
Other reports though persist in saying that a smaller number of attackers also came across the border from Turkey.
Several reports also say that some of the attackers were dissident Kurds and spoke the language, possibly originating from Kurdish areas of Turkey or Iraq.
In the west of Kobane Canton local reports suggest that as well as the main attack on Kobane city, the Islamic State attempted several boat crossings across the Euphrates river but these were foiled by Coalition airstrikes and Kurdish artillery.
A build up of IS fighters at Jarablous, on the west bank of the Euphrates was also targeted, as well as IS forces coming from Manbij and heading for the road across the Euphrates above the Tishreen dam.
To the east of Kobane over the weekend, the combined YPG/YPJ and Free Syrian Army force, Burkan al-Firat, consolidated their positions south of Tal Abyad and strengthened their control of the Tal Abyad to Raqqah road.
In clashes with the IS Jihadists, 2 x IS tanks were destroyed and 38 x IS fighters killed, as well as AK-47s, machine gun and rocket launchers captured. 6 Kurdish fighters died in the battles.
Turkey’s Forces Mass on Syrian Border
Of major concern is a build-up of Turkish troops along the Rajavan border.
President Erdogan of Turkey has made it clear that he will not tolerate a Kurdish state along his border separating Turkey from Syria and linking the 3 Kurdish Cantons of Afrin, Kobane and Cizire.
Reports suggest that as many as 18,000 Turkish troops are massing to establish a 110-km long and 28-km wide buffer zone stretching from Karkamış to Öncüpınar, on both sides of the Syrian border.
However, Erdogan’s party failed to succeed in getting an overall majority in recent elections, and both his Foreign Minister and the Turkish military are reluctant to pursue such a plan.
Ostensibly set up as an attempt to fight IS, for which a regular army is ill-equipped in the first place, it could easily turn into a battle with the Kurds and attract international condemnation as well as air attacks from Assad’s air force.
A statement of intent is expected this evening, Monday, after a meeting of Turkey’s National Security Council which convened this afternoon, a day earlier than usual. You can read more, HERE:
A Kobane Canton situation map, courtesy of @ChuckPfarrer, is here:
Kobane Canton Situation Map 29.06.15
EDITOR: Perhaps what is most surprising (or perhaps not considering the numbers of people who turn to this blog for Kobane news – now approaching 70,000 visitors a month), is the failure of international media to report on events in Kobane and northern Syria.
Last Friday, when IS struck in France, Kuwait and Tunisia, BBC news reports and other leading channels and press ignored the deaths of 200+ people in Kobane city and just reported these other stories. None the less terrible in their brutality, but no more worthy of coverage than the murder of dozens of Kurdish civilians.
Some notable exceptions were the UK’s Guardian and the The Independent.
Over in Hasakah the picture of the fight between Assad forces and the YPG, who are both defending the city, and the Islamic State who are attacking them is less clear.
Reports over the weekend suggested that Assad’s forces were losing ground in the south of Hasakah and handing over their positions (and weapons) to the YPG who hold the north of the city.
On Saturday, the Syrian Army was reported to have withdrawn from a number of checkpoints and its headquarters, allowing IS to penetrate parts of the Kurdish districts of Aziziyah and Al-Ghazl. Kurdish units subsequently took control of the National Hospital in the Aziziyah neighbourhood and the nearby School of Nursing.
Pro-regime forces have however been constantly shelling IS positions from the Jabal Kawkab base 10 kilometres east of Hasakah in an attempt to cut off their supply routes from Shaddadi and yesterday are reported to have regained the Nashwa Gharbiya neighbourhood. As a result, the Kurds have also blocked the infiltration of Aziziyah and Al-Ghazl.
IS still controls the Villat Homr area which overlooks the IS-held district of Geweran in the south-east of the city, while Assad’s air force continues to bomb them from the air and 30,000 civilians flee to the north.
Since last Thursday the Coalition has also been very active in the air across northern Syria, US Central Command (Centcom) reporting 51 airstrikes between Thursday morning and today, Monday am.
27 of those airstrikes were in Kobane Canton, 7 near Tal Abayd, 7 near Raqqah, 3 near Hasakah and the rest in Aleppo and Deir Ez-Zour provinces – all hitting and destroying the usual range of Islamic State fighting units, vehicles, weapons and equipment but including 8 x IS boats.
Victims of IS Attack on Kobane June 2015 – RIP