Brave Kurdish Rebels Just Won a Four-Month Battle Against the Islamic State
The Associated Press reports, "Jubilant Kurdish fighters ousted Islamic State militants from the key Syrian border town of Kobani on Monday after a four-month battle — a significant victory for both the Kurds and the U.S.-led coalition."
More than just a strategic victory: As Mic's Coleen Jose reported in October, Kobani is a gateway into Turkey. The fall of Kobani to Islamic State, analysts say, could have signaled a major strategic and symbolic victory for the militants, who would have gained a 560-mile corridor along an increasingly porous border and a direct link to its strongholds in Aleppo and Raqqa.
The U.S. certainly stepped up to deprive the Islamic State of the foothold: Kobani was the target of about a half-dozen daily coalition airstrikes on average, and more than 80% of all coalition airstrikes in Syria have been in or around the town, the Associated Press reports. In October, the U.S. dropped bundles of weapons and medical supplies for Kurdish fighters — a first in the Syrian conflict.
"Their morale collapsed," Kobani-based journalist Farshad Shami told the AP of the Islamic State. "It is a historic victory, when a small town like Kobani defeats a formidable criminal force like Daesh."
An earlier version of this article cited and linked to the Associated Press, but did not include quotations around the phrase "jubilant Kurdish fighters ousted Islamic State militants from the key Syrian border town of Kobani on Monday after a four-month battle — a significant victory for both the Kurds and the U.S.-led coalition." The story has been updated to fully attribute the Associated Press' language.