A PROGRESS report on the battle of Kobani by the Turkish journalist Cengiz Çandar who visited the front a few days ago. Çandar believes the "Stalingrad of the Kurds" - stubbornly defended for the past two months by the YPG/J militia, composed equally of young Kurdish women and men - probably marks "the beginning of the end of IS in military terms."
Since the YPG/J recaptured a strategic hill overlooking Kobani and cut the main IS supply route, "the military balance has decidedly turned", Çandar says. The feeling now is that if the IS is expelled from the city, it won't be able to withstand American-led air strikes in the exposed rural terrain and will be be quickly rolled back across northern Syria.
Çandar watched the air strikes in and around Kobani from the Turkish side of the border opposite, together with the city's Kurdish refugees. Outside of America's black communities, Obama is probably nowhere more popular than in the refugee camps. Both the refugees and the Turkish troops stationed on the border credit the US intervention with having saved the city from falling and its defenders massacred.
A major issue is what will become of the refugees when Kobani and the wider self-governing Kurdish commune of Rojava is liberated. Their homes and services have been destroyed and it is presently unclear whether the city will be rebuilt and where the reconstruction aid will come from. The same is true on a larger scale of the greater number of other Syrians who have been displaced by the brutal and many-sided civil war.