Kurdish fighters have defeated ISIS in a battle for the Syrian city of Khobani.
Seizure of Khobani, which is near the Turkish border, would have been a significant tactical victory for ISIS.
Kurdish defenders of the city have succeeded in stopping the ISIS advance after an intense and protracted battle. The Kurdish ground forces were heavily supported by US – led airstrikes.
According to interviews that ISIS fighters give to Amak, which is a news agency within Syria that has aligned itself with them, the airstrikes were decisive in ISIS’ defeat in this battle.
Given the enormous power that air superiority gives to any ground force, I would be surprised is that was not true. Also, effective air support of Kurdish forces on the ground is certainly a better option than American “boots on the ground.”
After withdrawing from Khobani, ISIS has opened a new line of attack in Kirkuk. ISIS has taken control of the oil filed in Kirkuk.
And according to the interviews given to ISIS-aligned Amak news agency in Syria, it was those airstrikes that won the battle for Kobani, referred to by the fighters as Ayn Al-Islam.
“Recently, we have withdrawn from Ayn Al-Islam bit by bit, because of the airstrikes and deaths of a number of our brothers,” said one of the two fighters, his face covered apart from his eyes.
He points to a scene of destruction behind him but vows that ISIS will persist, “and this is the message we send to Obama.”
The second fighter interviewed by Amak stood near a road sign reading Ayn Al-Islam. He said ISIS forces had raided 360 villages around Kobani, from which the people “ran away like rats.”
But the reason behind their withdrawal from the city, he said, “is that we no longer had places to hold there. We were inside Ayn Al-Islam and we occupied more than 70%, but the airstrikes did not leave any building standing, they destroyed everything.”
His horror of the airstrikes was apparent.
“I swear by God, their planes did not leave the air, day and night; they did airstrikes all day and night. They targeted everything. They even attacked motorcycles; they have not left a building standing. But by God willing we will return and we will have our revenge multiplied.”