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Kurdish-Americans Appeal for US Action in Kobane

By James Reinl 6/10/2014
An ISIS flag seen on a hill overlooking the town of Kobane as fighters take high ground. Photo: AFP.
An ISIS flag seen on a hill overlooking the town of Kobane as fighters take high ground. Photo: AFP.

NEW YORK - Kurdish-American campaigners are pressuring the US Government to better support embattled Syrian Kurds in Kobane, where Islamic State (IS) fighters are making gains against the holdouts.

Kurdish-Americans across the US have appealed to Senators to boost support for Syrian Kurds who are defending Kobane – a Kurdish town near the Syria-Turkey border – from IS, the sectarian Sunni militia that is also known as ISIS and ISIL.

“Kobane has been surrounded for almost two weeks; the latest reports indicate that the city is under heavy bombardment and parts of the city may have fallen,” says a campaign letter that has circulated among hundreds of Kurdish-Americans.

“If democratic nations fail to provide immediate military support to Kurdish fighters, Kobane will suffer the same tragic fate as Shingal,” it adds, referring to the massacres of Christian minorities in Iraq this summer.

IS forces have besieged Kobane for nearly three weeks, forcing more than 160,000 civilians, mostly Kurds, to flee into Turkey. US-led forces have carried out airstrikes on IS forces around Kobane but have not halted their advance.

Washington’s approach to Kobane is influenced by that of its NATO ally, Turkey, which has authorized the use of military force in Syria and Iraq but is reluctant to help Syrian Kurds, who have links with Turkey’s own restive Kurdish population.

Last week, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel rejected plans for a “buffer zone” in which Turkish troops would defend a protected area some 10 kilometers into Syria that includes Kobane, which is also known as Ayn al-Arab in Arabic.

“We continue to talk with the Turkish government about many options. But there are no plans for that option right now,” Hagel told reporters on Friday.

But many Kurdish-Americans demand tougher and faster action from Washington. Dr Amir Sharifi, a linguistics lecturer at California State University, said that abandoning Kobane’s Kurds would be a betrayal of liberal values.

“The world agrees that it should be stopped, but is the world community genuinely taking action to prevent IS from committing another massacre in Kobane?” Sharifi told Rudaw. “Kobane should become a rallying point for the struggle against the Islamist fascism.”

US forces continued striking IS targets across its self-declared caliphate over the weekend, hitting vehicles, tanks, firing positions and mortar teams around Al Mayadin and Ar Raqqah in Syria and around Fallujah and Sinjar (Shingal)  in Iraq. 

Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby has said strikes would continue to “relieve some of that pressure” on Kobane.

US President Barack Obama says IS can be routed with airstrikes and by arming Kurds, Iraqis and moderate Syrian opposition fighters as ground forces. Critics say he over-depends on air power, lacks reliable allies and has no solution to Syria’s civil war.

The Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq has an office in Washington but staff were not immediately available comment.


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Bijî Kurd and Kurdistan forever! | 6/10/2014
PKK:s pride will be its downfall. They should've let Barzani be the boss 3 years ago. This wouldn't have happened then. Barzani I'd recognized all over the world and the KRG has contacts with all the important players. Who has the PKK contact with, Iran? Smh. Feel sorry for the guerilla, because they are heroes, but the ideology and leadership live in the communist 70/80's :(
Smarin | 6/10/2014
Obama for Christ sake pull the trigger do the right thing and lead damnit. Daesh baby killing rapists have to mass together to take kobane. Get them now before it's to late your Turkish buddies will only go in to take over remains of Kurds. You gave a chance right now to be on the right side of history if for nothing else your own legacy is at stake. Pissed off American vet. To the Kurds americans definitely support you but our president is apparently a coward.
Rojhilato | 6/10/2014
Why do we cry when our enemy kill us and rape our woman? Many Kurds hate nationalism and support non-kurds that talk shit about us like christian arabs and even armenians try to force Ezdi kurds to hate them self, is this what we want? If i was a leader i would show true nationalism and love every Kurd from every corner, but i would show no mercy to our enemies, either your a Kurd or not..I dont want any money but protection against Jash. That's how i grew up and guess what? Nobody fucks with us and we are less then our enemies in our area. I always make people call them self Kurds, i even meet Turks that wanna be Kurds no shit. If you are a patriot and a Kurd, female or male does not matter you are my family. Write if you want to talk to me and i live in Sweden. Kurd hemo dile mine!. Biji azadya welat! Spas dikim
French Bouddhist | 6/10/2014
Holocaust killed 6 million Jews because US was thinking for too not make the same error..... first arm the Kurds by helicopter from Turkey and solve other problems after.
Mina | 6/10/2014
Today isnt the day to juge eachother . Today all kurds fra rojhalat , bashur and bakur be United and help kobani , show that kobani isnt alone. Dont Wait for help from other country mabe its kome but very late as always . Kurds have just eachother , make history and dont let barbarer kontroll kobani .

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