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October 16, 2014

Peshmergas Make Some Progress Against IS in Kobani

If true, then this is certainly good news, and a sign that Obama's feckless, limited airstrikes nevertheless had some impact.

But only some. I'm quoting the following article, but compare it the next following article; the BBC seems to take claims of major peshmerga victories uncritically, while the Daily Mail offers some context and specifics which indicate the peshmergas' victories have been more limited.

The Islamic State militant group has been driven out of most of the northern Syrian town of Kobane, a Kurdish commander tells the BBC.

Baharin Kandal said Islamic State (IS) fighters had retreated from all areas of the border town, except for two pockets of resistance in the east.

US-led air strikes had helped push back the militants, she added....

Ms Kandal said her militia group had been receiving arms, supplies and fighters but she refused to say how, our correspondent on the Turkish border near Kobane says.

Ms Kandal?

As the Independent Journal Review noted a few months ago (and many people have noted as well), women are serving as fighters in the Peshmerga, and even make-up the all-female 2nd Battalion.

The Telegraph recently posted a video of the female peshmergas fighting IS on the "Turkish-Syrian border," which I take to mean "in and around Kobani." See also this photo essay of the women fighters of Kurdistan. On October 1, IS beheaded ten prisoners, among them three female Kurdish fighters.

Incidentally, some jihadists fear that being killed by a woman might deny them their promised 72 virgins. I don't know if they really believe this or this is some psyops that are being run against them.

Women involvement in the fight against the Islamic State plays a significant role in upsetting ISIS militants' mental state because they fear being killed by a woman will result in them being sent to "hell", one 27-year-old female fighter named Tekoshin told AFP.

"I think [they] were more afraid of us than of the men," she said. "They believe they'll go to hell if they die at a woman's hands."

U.S. Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., in an interview with The New York Post in September also referenced that notion when he claimed that Jihadists fear being killed by women because under jihadist law they would be denied the "paradise" they were promised in the afterlife, which also includes a God-given 72 virgins.

Yeah I kinda think this is just psyops but hey, maybe they have a point.

Back to the actual fight in Kobani. This Daily Mail article is more detailed about the recent fighting, and also less sanguine on the point of how much of Kobani the peshmergas have actually managed to recapture. While Ms. Kandal says that the peshmergas had driven IS mostly out of Kobani, except for some units in "the east," the Daily Mail map shows that the "east" is most of the town.

The area shaded purple shows the areas of Kobane currently under Kurdish control. The red dotted line shows the extent of their control on October 10, revealing exactly how much territory the YPG has reclaimed in the west of the city over the past five days. Despite the gains, ISIS is continuing to advance into eastern Kobane. The black arrows show where the militants are focussing the bulk of their attacks on the Kurds

Graphic and explanatory caption both from the Daily Mail.

The peshmergas have made some progress -- pushing IS back from the blue line to the red line -- but IS seems to remain in control of most of the city.

In addition, while the Daily Mail reports that the peshmergas are bragging of a "symbolic victory" in recapturing a hill outside the town -- a hill upon which IS laid out its enormous, baseball-field-tarp sized black flag -- IS black flags are still flying over many buildings inside the town.

The Daily Mail article concludes with this unwelcome news:

Six senior figures in the Pakistani Taliban have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State and its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in a symbol of the terrorists' expanding influence among Islamist groups.

Withdrawing their loyalty to the Afghan Taliban's leader Mohammad Omar, the men - made up of the group's chief spokesman Shahidullah Shahid and five regional commanders -- said they will remain members of the Pakistani Taliban, but added they now consider themselves affiliates of ISIS.

So now the Taliban is also turning towards IS for leadership. The IS now has pledged terrorist supporters in Pakistan, too.

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posted by Ace at 12:11 PM

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