Victory in Kobane

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After 135 days of heroic resistance the defenders of Kobane cleared the city of Islamic State (IS) forces on 26 January 2015. Representatives of the People’s Defence Units (YPG) and Women’s Defence Units (YPJ) said that they would proceed to clear the surrounding villages of IS. IS attacked Kobane on 15 September 2014. Over 200,000 people crossed the border into Turkey. Turkey’s President Erdogan said, ‘Kobane may fall very soon.’ The Kurdish fighters fought with determination, organisation and skill. They were joined by peshmerga from South Kurdistan (northern Iraq), volunteers from the Turkish Marxist Leninist Communist Party (MLKP), elements of the Free Syrian Army and others and they were helped by bomb attacks on IS positions by the US Air Force. The Turkish state obstructed volunteers from joining the defence of Kobane from North Kurdistan (Turkey). In the end, IS forces were reported fleeing into Turkey, to be escorted away from the border with Syria by Turkish troops.

According to the BBC the defence of Kobane was ‘a major test of the US-led coalition’s strategy to combat IS in Syria with air strikes’. The BBC described the victory as a US triumph: ‘If this is indeed the victory the Kurds claim, it would not have happened without American bombing.’ This is utter contempt for the Kurdish-led resistance; IS was not beaten in the skies, they were beaten by fighters on the ground! The BBC adopts a disdainful attitude to the Kurdish victory because the YPG and YPJ are affiliated to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) which is a banned organisation in Britain and the European Union. The ban on the PKK must be lifted. The Kurdish achievement has been noted in the Middle East and internationally. Representatives of the Democratic Union Party, the main Kurdish-led political party in the autonomous region of Rojava, West Kurdistan, Syria (which includes Kobane) have been invited to talks on Syria in Cairo and Moscow. Russia is encouraging dialogue between the Syrian government and some of its opponents.

The YPG states that 3,710 IS members were killed in Kobane, 408 YPG and YPJ died and 20 of their allies also fell battle. About 40% of the resistance fighters in Kobane are women. FRFI joins millions of workers and oppressed people around the world in saluting the resistance of Kobane. The Kurdish people’s struggle goes on; the victory in Kobane will inspire them. Long live Rojava!

Trevor Rayne

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! 243 February/March 2015