The threat of ISIS in Rojava
The People’s Protection Units (YPG) are estimated to be around 45,000 — 50,000 armed fighters in Western Kurdistan or what is commonly referred to as Rojava. Since the beginning of Syria’s revolution, and what later manifested into a civil war, YPG has fought aggressively against groups such as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) and prevented violence from erupting in Kurdish inhibited areas in Syria.
Recent pictures that have emerged from Kobane, Kurdish inhibited city, which has been under the administrative control of YPG since 2012 shows executions of several Kurdish people, allegedly by ISIS.
A local from Kobane, who wanted to remain anonymous, warned that ISIS has seized high technological weaponry from Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city which is currently under the control of ISIS. “These weapons are being used by ISIS to fight YPG, and those who oppose them”.
“Women have taken up arms to defend their lands against ISIS threat” and people fear that “they will get more strength from Baathist military personnel that served Saddam in Iraq”, said a local from Kobane. He also added that, “International media is focusing on ISIS but not what they are inflicting on Kurdish people in Kobane, while Southern Kurdistan has Peshmerga with strong military strength, YPG will struggle if ISIS continue to bring high tech weaponry from Iraq”.
On July 2, ISIS attacked Kobane, killing nine civilians and 11 YPG fighters according to Amed Dicle, who reported that executions in Jarablus, West of Kobane was conducted by ISIS to terrorise locals, and later advised people to not spread the pictures, as ISIS intent to scare people with it.
Twitter users have attempted to campaign and raise awareness about the situation in Kobane using #SpeakOutForRojava. The trend setter, known as Mark Campbell, a pro-kurdish campaigner explained that it was crucial for English language users to see what was happening because most media agencies have ignored both the Kurdish people in Syria and YPG. He said, “There has been so much coverage of ISIS seizure of Mosul and high-tech weaponry, but news agencies have not followed up on what is happening to these high-tech weapons and where they are being used”.
“There have been conflicting reports about reinforcements of ISIS convoys making their way to Kobane from all directions and I fear that if international attention is not drawn to what is happening in Kobane and the Kurds do not get support to fight ISIS there will be more massacres of Kurdish civilians. I am especially appealing to Kurds in South Kurdistan to put pressure on their politicians to help the people of Kobane” Campbell added, voicing more concern that the situation will worsen in the coming weeks in Kobane for Kurdish people, and that ISIS was a threat to all parts of Kurdistan.