Despite dumping massive amounts of their military stockpile and manpower into taking over the key Syrian city of Kobane, ISIS (or the Islamic State) continues to be pushed out of the town by staunch Kurdish fighting forces and U.S.-led airstrikes.
The ISIS/Islamic State group was once on the verge of sacking Kobane. That the Syrian town on the border with Turkey was destined to fall into the hands of ISIS seemed a foregone conclusion a few months ago.
However, Kurdish fighters, and bombings of ISIS militants by U.S.-led warplanes, continue to take away the momentum ISIS had enjoyed, crippling their ambitions and inflicting severe damage to their ranks, reports Yahoo News.
ISIS was steamrolling across Syria and Iraq in September, town after town being absorbed into their Islamic State, and any opposing forces fleeing the murderous ISIS advance which included beheadings, crucifixions, and the slaughtering of women and children. Their rising tide surprisingly only reached a certain height, however. In the face of fierce Kurdish fighters — which includes many women — and the relentless U.S.-led airstrikes, ISIS forces were unable to capture Kobane and are now on the verge of being pushed out altogether.
Kurdish forces have recaptured most of Kobane in recent weeks, with ISIS now hanging on to just 20 percent of the key town, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
An estimated 1,600 people have been killed in the fight for Kobane, 1,000 or more of those deaths being ISIS militants. But the ISIS/Islamic State group is not ready to throw in the towel as they continue to send in reinforcements, desperately clinging to some hope of somehow winning back the pivotal and symbolically significant town.
“Kobane has become a huge symbol. Everyone knows Kobane, it’s where the Kurds stopped IS(IS),” said Mutlu Civiroglu, a Kurdish affairs analyst.
“(ISIS) lost hundreds of fighters, millions of dollars of weapons, and the image that wherever ISIS (the Islamic State) goes no one can stop them.”
While the gritty fighting of Kurdish forces has been the bane of ISIS forces in Kobane, U.S.-led airstrikes have been key in beating back the ISIS militants.
“Seventy-five percent of all US strikes in Syria were on Kobane. You give any force on the ground that kind of aerial support and they will get the upper hand,” said Thomas Pierret, a University of Edinburgh expert on Syria.
“(ISIS) would have taken over Kobane completely (without the US-led air support), because it has the means to bring more forces to the fight than the Kurds.”
“(ISIS) did not expect such an intense aerial campaign,” said Mustefa Ebdi, a Kurdish activist from Kobane, citing the discovery of “dozens of bodies of jihadists in liberated districts” as evidence.
The U.S.-led airstrikes have also taken out much of the ISIS heavy weaponry that essentially had the Kurds outgunned, while also limiting their ability to move their militant troops, the airstrikes literally blowing ISIS militants and equipment right off the Kobane battle fronts.
Fighting on their home turf has also been an advantage for Kurdish forces over those of ISIS and the battle for Kobane. According to analysts, the lack of any local sympathizers and informers, like they had when they took over other towns in Iraq and Syria, has also hampered the efforts of ISIS to make the key town of Kobane part of their Islamic state.
[Images via Google Images and NBC News]