The Battle For Kobani

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ISIS and the battle for control of the Syrian town of Kobani. The Kurds have it. ISIS wants it. The US is bombing. We’ll look at the lessons of the battle for Kobani.

Kurds in Turkey look over the border with Syria toward the embattled town of Kobani. (David Takaki / Twitter)
Kurds in Turkey look over the border with Syria toward the embattled town of Kobani. (David Takaki / Twitter)

If one little town can tell a big story about American strategy and the Islamic State it may be Kobani.  Desert and fields around a spray of white houses, schools, buildings, in northern Syria, hard against the Turkish border.  For ten days, ISIS has been battling toward the town and its desperate Syrian-Kurdish defenders.  Refugees, fleeing.  Turkish Kurds watching from hillsides across the border, cut off.  American planes hitting ISIS tanks and guns.  But ISIS keeps coming.  A slaughter is feared.  The tangle of interests is fierce.  This hour, On Point:  the US, ISIS, and the battle for Kobani.
-- Tom Ashbrook


Ayla Jean Yackley, Istanbul-based correspondent for Reuters. (@aylajean)

Idris Nassan, deputy foreign minister in the Kobani canton. (@IdrisNassan)

Paul Salem, vice president for policy and research at the Middle East Institute. Author of "Broken Orders: The Causes and Consequences of the Arab Uprisings" and "Iraq's Tangled Foreign Relations." (@paul_salem)

Fred Wehrey, senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace's Middle East Program. Author of "Sectarian Politics in the Gulf." (@FWehrey)

From Tom's Reading List

Bloomberg News: Islamic States Closes In On Syria's Kobani As Kurds Resist  -- "Militants driving tanks and firing mortars captured the final village on the outskirts of Kobani and were one kilometer from the town’s entrance, according to Ibrahim Ayhan, a lawmaker from the pro-Kurdish People’s Democracy Party."

ReutersCoalition jets strike Islamic State near Turkish border: Kurdish sources — " U.S.-led forces launched air strikes on Islamic State fighters who are besieging a Kurdish town near the Syrian border with Turkey on Wednesday, Kurdish sources in the town and a monitoring group said, a rare daylight coalition attack."

NPR News: Kurds Retake Syria-Iraq Border Crossing As U.K. Begins Bombing — "Iraqi Kurdish fighters, known as peshmerga, were doing the bulk of the fighting on the ground as a U.S.-led coalition carried out an aerial assault against the Islamic State group in both Iraq and Syria. Britain joined the air campaign Tuesday, carrying out its first strikes against the extremists in Iraq — though it does not plan to expand into Syria."

Watch A Video From CNNTurk From Kobani, Syria

This program aired on October 2, 2014.


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