Coalition air strikes may be helping to turn the tide in Kobani

Thanks to the Kurds spirited defense of their town, and more intense air strikes being delivered by coalition forces, the battle for Kobani has slowly turned in favor of the defenders.

Islamic State forces still surround the Syrian border town, but they have been pushed back in some areas, and have failed to deliver a decisive blow that would allow them to take control of the city.

Adam Chandler writing in The Atlantic:

Less than two weeks ago, the newly announced American-led airstrikes against ISIS already appeared destined to fail. ​An Islamic State siege of the Syrian town of Kobani was about to give way to a massacre of Syrian Kurds providing early and salient proof of the airstrikes' fruitlessness. Then, something strange happened, the massacre never came.

The month-long battle for Kobani is by no means over and the death toll is by no means small, but for those administration officials beseeching the American public for both faith and patience, the past few days have given some provided some breathing room. As Reuters notes, coalition airstrikes surged on Wednesday and Thursday to the tune of 14 raids, which are said to have halted the Islamic State advance. Meanwhile, Kurdish forces have turned back some ISIS gains in the town.

On Friday, Army Gen. Lloyd Austin, who heads the Central Command, told the press that "the campaign is on the right track" and reiterated the need for "strategic patience." He also admitted that it still remains "highly possible that Kobani may fall" to the Islamic State militants.

As Helene Cooper noted, the efficacy and new intensity of the strikes may have been helped by "a little-known new system where Syrian Kurdish fighters fed target information to allied war planners." As we noted on Thursday, the State Department announced that the United States held its first direct talks with a Syrian Kurdish party in Paris last week. While the State Department played the meeting down, perhaps we now have a better idea about what they were discussing.

IS is unable to mass its forces for an attack that would overwhelm the Kurdish defenders thanks to some well coordinated strikes by US planes. But Islamic State is not likely to give up on taking the town, considering how much in men and material they have invested in its capture. It would be a huge propaganda loss for them if they were forced to withdraw. It would also raise the morale of Iraqi troops who are being squeezed in Anbar province and outside of Baghdad.

But IS is still making gains in both Iraq and Syria. The coalition planes can't strike everywhere Islamic State is on the move which is why, as long as there are no supporting infantry to push back against IS, our air campaign will be ineffective in stopping the terrorists.

 

Thanks to the Kurds spirited defense of their town, and more intense air strikes being delivered by coalition forces, the battle for Kobani has slowly turned in favor of the defenders.

Islamic State forces still surround the Syrian border town, but they have been pushed back in some areas, and have failed to deliver a decisive blow that would allow them to take control of the city.

Adam Chandler writing in The Atlantic:

Less than two weeks ago, the newly announced American-led airstrikes against ISIS already appeared destined to fail. ​An Islamic State siege of the Syrian town of Kobani was about to give way to a massacre of Syrian Kurds providing early and salient proof of the airstrikes' fruitlessness. Then, something strange happened, the massacre never came.

The month-long battle for Kobani is by no means over and the death toll is by no means small, but for those administration officials beseeching the American public for both faith and patience, the past few days have given some provided some breathing room. As Reuters notes, coalition airstrikes surged on Wednesday and Thursday to the tune of 14 raids, which are said to have halted the Islamic State advance. Meanwhile, Kurdish forces have turned back some ISIS gains in the town.

On Friday, Army Gen. Lloyd Austin, who heads the Central Command, told the press that "the campaign is on the right track" and reiterated the need for "strategic patience." He also admitted that it still remains "highly possible that Kobani may fall" to the Islamic State militants.

As Helene Cooper noted, the efficacy and new intensity of the strikes may have been helped by "a little-known new system where Syrian Kurdish fighters fed target information to allied war planners." As we noted on Thursday, the State Department announced that the United States held its first direct talks with a Syrian Kurdish party in Paris last week. While the State Department played the meeting down, perhaps we now have a better idea about what they were discussing.

IS is unable to mass its forces for an attack that would overwhelm the Kurdish defenders thanks to some well coordinated strikes by US planes. But Islamic State is not likely to give up on taking the town, considering how much in men and material they have invested in its capture. It would be a huge propaganda loss for them if they were forced to withdraw. It would also raise the morale of Iraqi troops who are being squeezed in Anbar province and outside of Baghdad.

But IS is still making gains in both Iraq and Syria. The coalition planes can't strike everywhere Islamic State is on the move which is why, as long as there are no supporting infantry to push back against IS, our air campaign will be ineffective in stopping the terrorists.