Standing on the hill overlooking Kobane from the Turkish side of the border you can hear explosions and gunfire as the battle for the city continues between forces of ISIS and the Kurdish fighters of the YPD and YPG. 500,000 people lived in Kobane. That makes it bigger than Glasgow. Now under 10,000 are left to defend it.

Stephen Smellie Unison, Kurdistan
Kurdish women YPJ fighters pose with a captured ISIS tank

Kurdish women YPJ fighters pose with a captured ISIS tank

Standing on the hill overlooking Kobane from the Turkish side of the border you can hear explosions and gunfire as the battle for the city continues between forces of ISIS and the Kurdish fighters of the YPD and YPG. 500,000 people lived in Kobane. That makes it bigger than Glasgow. Now under 10,000 are left to defend it.

People say the American aircraft usually come in the morning and drop a few bombs and then the fighting continues. They think this is more for show than a serious effort to force ISIS back. If they were serious they would do more to attack the ISIS forces on the hills surrounding the city. However the Kurds on the Turkish side of the borde,r including 200,000 refugees believe that they are winning and that they will be going back go their homes soon.

Our delegation interviewed Fayza Abdi who is the co-President of the Kobane Legislative Council. She was in Kobane till two weeks ago. She came to the town of Suruc just over the border in order to work in supporting her people who elected her 10 months ago when they established the canton – an autonomous administration. Her two daughters remain in Kobane assisting the fighters.

She said, “I am waiting minute by minute to return.”

Referring to the 170,000 Kobanis now living in tents in the refugee camps she said they say, “We want to live in tents, but in Kobane.”

Also on the hill overlooking this symbol of the struggle against ISIS and for a democratic society built by the people from the ground up are a large number of Turkish tanks which do nothing but symbolise the Turkish states inactivity in helping neither the defence of the city or the refugees.

However it is to the men and especially the women of Kobane that we must look for action. They are the future not just for Kobane but for the whole region.


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Stephen Smellie

Stephen Smellie is Secretary of UNISON South Lanarkshire

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