The Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) attempted to capture Kobane, Syria, in September, but have faced intense backlash. The Kurdish Peshmerga and People’s Protection Unit (YPG) now prepare to completely take back the town from the terrorist group.
Forces claim they have taken back 70% of the city from the militants with help from the United States. On January 2, the Kurds took Mektebe Res, which is on the way to Mistenur Hill, which overlooks Kobane. YPG commander Aliser Agiri said Mektebe Res is extremely important “due to the high, sturdy buildings in the area, adding it was also important as it dominate the Kaniya Kurda area in the east of the city where ISIS gangs were situated.” The forces made more progress on January 3 when they recaptured the important industrial zone, in the northern edge of the city. This victory allowed YPG to place a defensive line against the militants who survived the clash and pushed the Kurds even closer to Mistenur Hill.
On December 19, VICE News reported that forces killed over 1,000 militants since the beginning of the offensive. A few days later, Kurdish fighters recaptured six neighborhoods around Kobane along with schools and cultural centers.
The European Union announced that they would provide military and humanitarian help for the Kurds on December 24, months after the United States provided help.
“The war against the Islamic State is not just a Kurdish war, but it concerns us all,” said European Union’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini. “But we are certain that ISIS cannot stay in this region for long.”
YPG shot to international fame due to a major presence of females in the forces. Mayssa Abdo leads the female battalion of the Pershmega.
“Those who know her say she is cultivated, intelligent and phlegmatic,” said activist Mustefa Ebdi. “She cares for the mental state of the fighters and takes interest in their problems.”
The jihadists fear a woman on the battlefield. They believe if they die in jihad, they will be rewarded with 72 virgins in heaven. However, if a woman kills them, the men are denied their virgins.
“These [ISIS] soldiers apparently believed that if they were killed in battle, they went to paradise as long as they were killed by a man,” said Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), who chairs the U.S. House International Relations Committee. “And these female soldiers were communicating their satisfaction with the fact that they had taken the fight to ISIL and had stopped the advance, turned back the advance – slayed a number of these fighters, who would then run away.”