Islamic State fighting inside Kobane

A video released by an unofficial news organization affiliated with the Islamic State shows the group’s fighters in heavy street-to-street fighting inside Kobane. The video shows fighters breaking down walls leading into streets and the walls of houses, as well as firing on Kurdish positions.

The Islamic State has been battling forces from the PKK-linked People’s Protection Units, or YPG, for control of the Syrian town. Previous reporting by The Long War Journal noted that this assault began two weeks ago when the Islamic State initiated a new attack on the city after failing to take it back in July. According to some Kurdish activists on Twitter, the offensive has been three-pronged, with Islamic State forces attacking Kobane from the east, south, and west of the city. [See Threat Matrix report, Islamic State advances near Kobane.]

Previous reporting by the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) details that the Islamic State has gained control of over 325 villages and towns surrounding Kobane in northern Syria. SOHR is now reporting that the jihadist group controls around “40% of Ayn al Arab [the Arabic name for Kobane]” itself.

The Islamic State’s advance takes place as the US and allied nations have increased the number of airstrikes near Kobane. The United States, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates have launched 16 airstrikes near Kobane in the past two days. However, SOHR notes that “[Coalition airstrikes] have not prevented IS fighters from bringing munitions from the countryside of Aleppo and al Raqqa where more military enhancements have arrived to the city without targeting them by the Coalition warplanes.”

Pictures from inside Kobane:

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The Islamic State has also utilized suicide bombings in the assault for Kobane. One suicide bomber is shown below:

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Caleb Weiss is a contributor to FDD's Long War Journal.

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19 Comments

  • Celtiberian says:

    This is a shame.
    YPG kurds has been resistimng against all odds, for 27 days now, the Islamic State all out assault on Kobane. Lightly armed kurds against thousands of jihadists armed tanks and artillery and an endless supply of reinforcements and ammunition.
    YPG officers are thanking US air strikes, but acknowledge that now, with IS inside the town, airstrikes are not so effective as could have been some days ago when IS was still in the countryside around Kobane.
    They are asking for Turket to allow kurds to reach Kobane from the north, to allow transit of weapons and ammunition to the besieged town. Kobane is now a symbol for millions of kurds, some kind of Kurdish Alamo. If Turkey would allow the transit of weapons and volunteers, thousands of young kurds would flock to Kobane and strike the biggest blow yet to the Islamic State. They ARE the boots on the ground that US needs, secular, democratic, fiercily anti-jihadist kurds who don’t surrender, who fight till last man and woman.
    Sadly, US president does not seem to have the will to force Turkey (a shameful NATO partner!) to stop helping jihadists and to at the very least allow freedom fighters to reach Kobane.

  • M3fd2002 says:

    Every air sortie at kobani is one less in Anbar. Thats where the battle needs to be fought. The PKK are fighting in Kobani, no friends of the west. Red on red. It’s complicated, thats why the west should stay out of it, at least overtly. Too late now!

  • Bob v says:

    Why haven’t the US have special forces with the front lines with the Kurds and Iraqis! And if ISIL is moving at night in convoys, bring in the Spectre GunShip and touch them with the fingers of fire! It seems as if this air campaign seems to be quite hodgepodge! Waste these guys before they lay waste to Kobane and Bagdad

  • Tom says:




    Was bound to happen. Mayhaps one of your buds can track this model from what was shown.
    As to this article, twitterfeeds and livefeed from the border show IS in control of 80% of the city with the YPG pressed against the border gate.
    USAF even accidentally bombed some YPG positions, and Turkish artillery shelled some YPG strongpoints due to YPG mortaring Turkey Tokugawa style to get the Turks to step in.
    Well Turkey is smart. They don’t want to get into this mess left behind by Bush and Obama, especially if their demands that Assad also be taken out aren’t met. As far as they are concerned, Syria is full of terrorist groups killing each other, so why break it up and invite them to spread the war to Turkey?

  • Jackbo Godfrey says:

    ISIL is currently “unstoppable” – the Islamist tumor and influence grows and spreads.
    Both Western leaders and popular opinion fail to grasp what appears to be a highly contagious and quickly growing Islamist Renaissance manifested most notably by Islamic State.
    Just seems like it is going to have to get a lot worse before there is enough critical mass of support to the full commitment it will take to annihilate Radical Islam as a menace to the world. At what point that happens is beyond this little blogger.
    Keep fingers crossed our “Churchill” shows up soon enough to muster the masses for the global fight of the 21st Century.
    Excellent reporting here by LWJ of course too.

  • The air strikes’ primary purpose is to make certain political leaders look good.
    The Turkish armor at the border isn’t to guard against ISIS. It’s to prevent Kurdish fighters from fleeing into Turkey when Kobane falls.
    Last year’s peace overtures to the Kurds were simply about Erdogan gathering support in advance of this year’s presidential elections. The AKP has no interest in giving any assistance to any Kurdish group, anywhere.
    To expect the Erdogan gov’t to aid the Kurds in Kobane is to try to make liquid flow up a rope.

  • A Confused Camper says:

    Bill Still had a video up stating that there was a secret deal between Iran Turkey and the US to let Kobani fall. Eastern Turkey and North West Iran are oil rich and full of Kurds. Both Iran and Turkey fear a oil rich powerful Kurdish State. Having the Kurds crushed in Kobani make Iran and Turkey’s lives easier (In the Short run). I think this will wind up burning Iran Turkey and Iraq in the long run.
    //market-ticker.org/akcs-www?post=229494

  • Celtiberian says:

    As today, ISIS has been forced to retreat in the East front of Kobane town. Kurdish fighters mantain high moral but state that they lack heavy weapons and are running low of small weapons ammunition. They still control around 60% of the town against all odds.
    If Turkey continue to block the transit of kurdish reinforcements to Kobane, Turkey should be held responsible of complicity with ISIS massacres if the besieged town finally falls.
    Do you think USAF could make airdrops of supplies, including weapons and ammo? That could tip the balance.
    An ISIS defeat in Kobane will be a heavy moral blow for this terrorist organization. They grow because would be jihadists see ISIS as invinceable. If ISIS fails to overrrun an isolated provincial town defended by lightly armed and outnumbered kurds, the military reputation of ISIS will be heavily tarnished.

  • Tom says:

    @Celtiberian
    YPG is not be believed. They control less than 10% of the city, and have their backs against the wall, this is confirmed by live cam footage in Turkey.
    YPG/PKK is a joke. They use drugs and drink on duty, the YPJ are nothing special and IS kills them easily as they do the men. Just last eek 4,000 PKK soldiers in Hasakah surrendered to Turkey.
    Kurds are all bluff and the moment IS punched them they fell apart.
    IS fought ISF for years to take Mosul, Kobane once IS decided to shut it down fell in a month.
    Ironically half the Kurdish Fighters spearheading the assault on Kobane and the Kurdish commander were born and raised in Kobane and they just posted a video of a 100 Kobani citizens repenting.

  • irebukeu says:

    @Celtiberian
    The analogy that comes to mind when discussing Kobane is the Warsaw uprising of August 1944. The Polish home army (YPG//PKK) fought against the Nazis (ISIS) and even women joined the fight (YPJ). The army rose up and fought a month long battle in Warsaw Poland (Kobane, Syria). The Americans and British (Ditto-Americans and British), cut off from access to the battle except by long range air flights appealed to Stalin (erdogan) to do something, to move in to save the situation. Stalin (Erdogan) objected and did very little to help but did offer some tepid help when it was too little too late. It was in Stalin’s (Erdogan’s) interest to see the nationalist Poles (Kurds) crushed. A independent nationalistic Poland (Kurdistan) was not in his plans.
    Your comment about airdrops rang that bell again for me. as the Americans and british air dropped supplies to the Poles
    In my analogy you would be Winston Churchill and your last paragraph is the exact reason that if something can be done (and it might be too late to prevent the towns fall) something should be done because it is in our interest to do so.
    I’d look for turkey to do something too little, something too late to save Kobani.
    Even if Kobane falls, the Kurds in some type of agreement with the Turks can come flying across that border in large numbers with air support and open a front at anytime almost anywhere. Perhaps, Kobane can be the next Kharkov where there were four battles fought there in WWII ending in liberation (perhaps liberation is the wrong term) or Stalingrad where the obsession with the capture of one city led to the destruction of the beefed up German 6th army.
    Time will tell.

  • Killshot says:

    Why should the worthless Turks care? They are buying all the cheap ISIS oil. Heckuva deal for them. Got rid of the Armenians… now the Turks. I hope it all comes back to bite them.

  • Celtiberian says:

    “Tom”, it’s easy to spot that you are trolling here in behalf of ISIS and/or Turkey.
    You are making up stories, for example:’4,000 PKK soldiers surrendering to Turkey in Hassakah’?? No PKK soldier has surrendered to Turkey, they are in a peace process (very fragile one now). Moreover, Hassaka is in Syria, not in Turkey!
    YPG continues to resist ISIS assault. It’s amazing the resilience of these besieged fighters. US aerial strikes are also gaining in effectivity in Kobane. If kurds (with US help) prevail in Kobane against ISIS (with Turkey complicity), this will tarnish ISIS military reputation both in Syria and Iraq, which is of great importance in this kind of war. And US & coallition forces will have found their main ‘effective and reliable partner in Syria’.
    Come on, YPG kurds even are friendly to Israel, which is amazing in the ME. Secular, democratic, anti-islamist and not anti-Israel. I think they are the best possible US ally in this nightmarish war. And yet they have not received a single bullet or rifle, while the ‘moderate’ islamist brigades of the FSA are receiving even TOW missiles to go help their Al-Qaeda brothers in the battles against Syrian Army. It’s crazy.

  • jayc says:

    Tom,
    I would like to have some of what you have been smoking. There is absolutely nothing truthful to what you are saying. Nothing.

  • blert says:

    The Turks are the anvil.
    ISIS is the hammer.
    ISIS is entirely propped up by Erdogan.
    Without Turkish logistics, ISIS falls into the dust.
    It certainly can’t feed itself. Unlike the ancient past, the Euphrates is no longer a breadbasket — not at these population densities.
    That’s a dependency now common across the entire Muslim Middle East. Even Egypt and Iran require imports to cover half of their calories!
    Arabia — all of it, is grossly dependent upon food imports. That’s just how great the population surge has been.
    Without Erdogan’s food connection, ISIS would collapse. Ankara has al Baghdadi by the diner plate.
    &&&
    The Kurds were, along with other minorities, that fraction of the population that farmed.
    While, strictly speaking, the Sunnis also farm: date palms and subsistence agriculture is not exactly going to ‘get the job done.’
    So, from al Baghdadi’s point of view, it’s all to the good that Sunnis are taking viable farmland away from the Kurds… permanently.
    In fact, all of the intense battles of late have been fought right on top of the best farmland in Syria. Due to the climate, the Syrian-Iraqi planting season is directly ahead.
    %%%
    The Turks are disarming every Kurd that crosses north. Many are being arrested outright.
    Nothing that the Americans can say or do will stop Erdogan from crushing the Kobani Kurds. He regards them as ground zero for the Kurdish rebellion against the Turks.
    One should look to see other fringe Kurdish villages immediately south of Turkey mopped up by ISIS in the immediate weeks ahead.
    Between Erdogan and al Baghdadi, the Kurds never had a chance. The pitiful American (only) bombing is strictly a media enterprise. Generally, ISIS heavy weapons are advancing almost unmolested. [ The entire American air campaign equates to two flights of B-1b strategic bombers. ] Of course, the Kurds are so lightly armed that even harsh language pushes them north. The Kurds do not have night-vision goggles. ISIS does.

  • Kent Gatewood says:

    Time to expel Turkey from NATO.

  • Arjuna says:

    Agree w Kent and blert, Turkey is a big problem here, sabotaging our efforts just like our friends in the ISI do in AfPak. Throw Turkey out of Nato, yesterday. But will it happen? Never.
    It is, alas, the Coalition of the Clueless Cowards leading Operation Bring Back Our Humvees or Hands Off My Toyota! (hat tip to Pepe E. from ATOL).
    We will fight the murderous maniacs of the IS down to the last Kurd. Why don’t we fight? I thought we were the R2P crew?? Even if we’re not, they are going to send hardcore attackers eventually, so let’s kill them now over there. Any decade-plus conflict is a surefire loser, Sheriff Kerry and Sergeant Hagel. Way to kick the can down the road, guys.
    “There has never been a protracted war from which a country has benefited.” – Sun Tzu

  • sundoesntrise says:

    Celtiberian,
    The same “Syrian army” that crushed your beloved Kurds in 2004, killed Kurd protestors in 2011, and sporadically shelled and clashed with Kurds in 2012, 2013, 2014?
    You use many loaded words that could be ripped right out of a Youtube talking points manual. YPG Kurds are simply not that important to the U.S. and you need to realize that.

  • md khan says:

    From discussion & Turkish government approach is supporting ISIS. Which is against humanity. UNO requesting Endrogen to step up to save Kobane to avert
    massacre but he had one point agenda remove Assad. Why Does Assad kidnapped his wife or daughter so he hate so much? USA should attack on Turkey first if they
    wanted to win against ISIS.

  • Vermicious kid says:

    @Tom
    Who are you working for? Or do you post lies for free? I’ve read other comments of yours on this site and you are a consistent font of misinformation. My bet is there’s a reason for that.
    Of course it’s possible that you’re just stupid, I suppose.
    As to the PKK/ ISIL “red on red” comment above, with that approach you are guaranteed to lose in Syria. PKK are no threat to anyone in the. West except Turkey…and are Turkey even part of the West? They don’t seem to consider themselves to be.
    Only viable option to avoid US “boots on the ground” in Syria is some combination of the YPG and moderate elements of the FSA plus US airstrikes and arms. That’s the reality.

Iraq

Islamic state

Syria

Aqap

Al shabaab

Boko Haram

Isis