Iraq’s Peshmerga Join Battle for Kobani, With Kurdish Leadership at Stake

Thick smoke and flames from an airstrike by the U.S.-led coalition rise in Kobani, Syria, as seen from a hilltop on the outskirts of Suruc, at the Turkey-Syria border, Oct. 20, 2014 (AP photo by Lefteris Pitarakis).
Thick smoke and flames from an airstrike by the U.S.-led coalition rise in Kobani, Syria, as seen from a hilltop on the outskirts of Suruc, at the Turkey-Syria border, Oct. 20, 2014 (AP photo by Lefteris Pitarakis).

While the world watches the battle over the Syrian border town of Kobani in light of Turkish tensions with its Western partners in the fight against the so-called Islamic State (IS), there are significant Kurdish undercurrents that have largely escaped attention. Regardless of whether Kobani falls or Syria’s main Kurdish rebel group, the People’s Protection Unit (YPG), ultimately manages to hold the town, the resistance that Syria’s Kurds have put up for a month now against vastly superior IS forces has already become “a defining moment for nationhood and identity”for Kurds everywhere—a kind of Kurdish Alamo. As Kobani’s YPG fighters […]

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