Islamic Sate jihadists are close to seizing a strategic Syrian Kurdish town that lies on the country’s border with Turkey.
On October 1, the International Business Times (IBT) reported that the Islamic State (IS, also known as ISIS and ISIL) was 1.3 miles away from overrunning the Kurdish town of Ayn al-Arab in Syria known to Kurdish locals as Kobane.
Seizing that town would allow ISIS to control 60 miles of land from their headquarters in the Syrian city of Raqqa to the Turkish border.
Mutlu Civiroglu, an analyst of Kurdish affairs who spoke to sources on the ground in Syria, told IBT that taking over Kobane “would provide new avenues to bring in foreign fighters and weapons. But the border would also be a revolving door, allowing wounded ISIS fighters access to better hospitals in Turkey and facilitating the sale of illegal oil.”
ISIS wants to seize control of Jezira and Efrin, two Kurdish territories in Syria.
“Jezira shares part of its border with Iraq, where ISIS militants are fighting a different battle against Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga forces,” reported IBT. “It’s also home to several oil fields that, if seized, would give ISIS oil to sell or smuggle over the border. Efrin is located just miles from Aleppo, Syria’s largest city.”
Referring to Islamic State militants, Civiroglu told IBT, “These people are savages, they’re inhuman. It’s very likely they’re going to massacre whoever they find.”
IBT noted that critics have accused Turkey of providing support to the Islamic State group.