ISIS on the move in Syria
It appears that the Islamic State terrorists are sweeping through Kurdish villages in northern Syria, sending residents flying toward the Turkish border in their wake.
More than 60,000 Kurds crossed the border from Syria into Turkey in a 24 hour period Friday and Saturday. This mass of humanity has overwhelmed Turkish and UN refugee resources
Syrian Kurdish forces renewed their call for international intervention on Sunday as the United Nations said 70,000 people had fled into Turkey to escape an Islamic State offensive on a strategic border town.
Since Thursday, Islamic State rebels, backed by tanks and other heavy armor, have seized control of more than 60 villages near the regional capital of Ayn al-Arab, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a monitoring group. The extremist insurgents, also known as ISIS or ISIL have also forced the evacuation of about 100 other villages, Kurdish field commanders and Turkish officials said.
Turkish television on Sunday continued to broadcast footage of thousands of Kurds, many on foot, crossing the border into Turkey to escape Islamic State. The U.N. refugee agency said most of the refugees were Kurdish women, children and the elderly. Hundreds of Kurdish fighters and volunteers were traveling in the other direction to Syria to shore up their brethren's defenses, Turkish media reported.
Kurdish militia in Syria, under the banner of the Syrian Kurdish People's Defense Units, or YPG, said dozens of Kurds had been killed in fighting to defend Ayn al-Arab, called Kobani in Kurdish. They said the jihadists had advanced to within 9 kilometers of Kobani and appealed for international intervention to help their outgunned forces.
The call was joined by one from the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, a rebel group closely affiliated with the YPG, for the youth of Turkey's mostly Kurdish southeast to rise up and rush to save Kobani. The PKK, listed as a terror organization by Washington and Turkey, has spent three decades fighting for autonomy for Turkey's Kurds.
"Supporting this heroic resistance is not just a debt of honor of the Kurds but all Middle East people. Just giving support is not enough, the criterion must be taking part in the resistance," the PKK said on its website. "ISIL fascism must drown in the blood it spills…The youth of north Kurdistan (southeast Turkey) must flow in waves to Kobani."
Islamic State's progress toward the Turkish border again showed the group's military strength. It seized Kurdish territory in Syria even as French warplanes launched their first attacks Friday against the group's positions hundreds of miles away in northeastern Iraq.
This is clearly a test of the president's new policy. Do we come to the assistance of the Kurds in Syria? It will be big news if we do. President Obama may have been hoping to delay any bombing in Syria until after the election, in order to avoid a congressional debate on whether he is authorized to start a new war in Syria.
But ISIS seems to be forcing his hand. Is that deliberate? They're very clever so we shouldn't put it past them.
Just as importantly, it points up the stupidity of the policy. ISIS has stolen a march on us in Syria. In fact, the policy is not designed to give America the initiative in fighting the terrorists. It's a very reactive policy and hence,. a losing strategy.
With the president insisting he will make the call on each individual strike in Syria, the fast moving situation on the border may have changed dramatically by the time he stops dithering and takes action.