Turkey bars Kurdish militants from relieving Kobani
The UN refugee agency reports that up to 70,000 Syrian Kurds have crossed into Turkey over the past 24 hours to escape the ISIS advance on the town of Kobani (Ayn al-Arab). A Kurdish commander on the ground said ISIS forces had advanced to within 15 kilometers of the town. Most of the refugees are women, children and the elderly. Turkey opened a stretch of the border to allow the refugees to cross over. But Turkish security forces later fired water cannon and tear-gas at crowds that gathered in support of the refugees on the border. Authorities said they wanted to stop Kurdish PKK fighters entering Syria, while local TV said Kurds had been trying to deliver aid. (AP, Reuters, Al Jazeera, BBC News)
The executive council of the Union of Communities in Kurdistan (KCK), the PKK's civil organization, has issued an appeal calling on Kurds both sides of the border to come to the defense of Kobani. Especially addressing the people of Urfa, the mostly Kurdish city on the Turkish side of the border, the statement read: "Let us remove the borders, unite Urfa with Kobani, defeat the ISIS aggressors and turn the Rojava Revolution into the revolution of Syria and the whole Middle East.... Tens of thousands of youths must join the resistance and respond to ISIS fascism."
The statement flatly accused the Turkish state of collaborating with ISIS to crush PKK-aligned forces in Syrian Kurdistan, or Rojava: "However much they deny it, there is no doubt that one of the powers behind ISIS is Turkey. The Turkish state is using ISIS to attack the Rojava revolution and all Kurdish people. This is how it is carrying out its dirty war against the Kurdish freedom struggle." The statement also made reference to liberation of Turkish hostages who were being held by ISIS in Iraq. "The release of 49 members of the Turkish consular staff came about as a result of this support for ISIS. The hostages were released in particular due to Turkish collaboration with ISIS in its latest assault on Kobani." (ANF)
The Peoples Protection Units (YPG), the PKK-aligned militia in Syrian Kurdistan, has released a statement following the conclusion of its operation in the area of Til Hemis, where it says ISIS was driven from 19 villages and seven hamlets, and 53 ISIS fighters—including two commanders—were killed. Four YPG fighters also lost their lives in the fighting, according to the statement.
The statement also cited accounts from survivors that ISIS fighters massacred Kurdish and Arab residents who refused to fight against the YPG. Survivors also said the vilage of Qamişlo was bombarded by ISIS with Grad long-range rockets, resulting in five civilian deaths. The YPG claims ISIS acquired the rockets from the Syrian regime. The statement condemns ISIS for "targeting civilians including women and children for revenge." (ANF)