Kurdish Army

Kurdish female fighter's death

  This is Ceylan Ozalp, age 19.

   This 19-year-old Kurd fought for her people against Islamic State militants. United Nations reports that ISIS commits mass killings, enslaving thousands of women and children for sexual abuse. 

   She promised she’d rather kill herself before falling into ISIS’s hands. In late September, early October, Ceylan Ozalp killed herself after a firefight with ISIS.

   According to Al Arabiya News, she said “goodbye” over the radio before turning her gun on herself in a fulfillment of her promise.

   She was a young woman deeply committed to protecting her rights and the rights of others and, before even leaving her teenage years, killed herself to preserve her body and soul from the horrifying deeds ISIS commits every day.   

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Kurdish anti terror squad vs ISIS 4/12/2013 

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Late last week, ISIS fighters attacked a Kurdish city in northern Syria, after seizing 21 nearby villages in a major assault. The attack on the city of Ayn al-Arab, known as Kobani in Kurdish, drove hundreds of thousands of residents to flee, most heading to the nearby border with Turkey. The Associated Press is reporting that more than 150,000 Syrian Kurds have entered Turkey since the border was opened to refugees on September 19, and the United Nations warns that number could soon climb as high as 400,000.

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Kobane may be the next Alamo

PIC 1: Brave Kurdish Army Women Trying To Hold Their Territory From ISIS Invasion Happening Now in Kobane  MORE: http://bit.ly/1E8TyuJ

ALSO: Urban warfare starts as 1000’s of civilians are under the threat of massacre by ISIS gangs BUT ISIS gangs are reported to be suffering heavy losses in the ongoing clashes with YPG/YPJ/FSA, mainly at the eastern front

QUOTE: “we hoped American planes will help us. Instead American tanks in hands of ISIS are killing us” Kurdish guy from Kobane

PIC 2 “The spectacle of Turkish tanks watching Kobane fall to IS is really something.”

PIC 3: ‘Emergency protest for Kobane in NYC’

PIC 4: ‘Kurdish populated areas in Turkey are uprising against ISIS and their long supporter AKP gov’t’

PIC 5: Coalition airstrike in Kobane

PIC 6: Hundreds of kurds from Cizire are tearing down Turkeys border fence to cross to Kobane to join the YPG 

VID 1: Battle for KOBANE_Heavy Clashes Between YPG & ISIS Terrorists

VID 2: ISIS Chechen top commander killed by Kurdish YPG when Isis flags raised in Kobane http://t.co/BsXTkKyCCI

VID 3: ISIS Tank Attacking Kurds In Kobane Finds Out How Tough They Are - The Hard Way http://bit.ly/1o6hpGQ

CURRENT EVENTS IN KOBANE

Islamic State (IS) militants have entered the key Syria-Turkey border town of Kobane and are engaged in street-to-street fighting with Syrian Kurd defenders.

IS fighters entered eastern districts, raising their black flag on buildings and high ground.

Hundreds of civilians are reported to be fleeing to the Turkish border.

Taking Kobane, besieged for three weeks, would give IS control of a long stretch of the Syrian-Turkish border.

More than 160,000 Syrians, mainly Kurds, have fled the town.

Earlier a local official in Kobane, Idriss Nassan, told the BBC that the town would “certainly fall soon”.

He confirmed IS was now in control of Mistenur, the strategic hill above the town and that there was heavy shelling. Kobane is now besieged on three sides.

Large demonstrations for Kobane in Wien, Paris, London, Bern, Istanbul, Stockholm, and Den Haag. Kurds are blocking the parliament in Norway protesting against silence of EU-governments while Kobane is under attack.

20-30 IS managed to sneak into East Kobani but were ambushed & killed by Kurds.

BREAKING: Hearing planes in the sky above kobane …seeing a YPG flag in center of town …2 ISIS flags still in East of town.

BREAKING: Airstrike around Kobane now. Big explosion …smoke rising from behind bldg where ISIS raised their flag.

MORE: Coalition fighter jets are shelling ‪‎ISIS‬ strongholds in the outskirts of ‪Kobane‬, three ISIS tanks have been destroyed.

UPDATE: Jets over Kobane again. Heavy fighting inside city. Also …While all attention focused on Kobane, ISIS is slowly still pushing (vs. Islamic Front) towards Marea north of Aleppo city, Syria.

ALSO: Kurdish YPG spokesman @polatcano says: ‘In last 12 hrs, a tank was destroyed, 6 ISIS cars w/machine guns in South & East +1 APC.

UPDATE: Now …Turkey calls for ground invasion of Kobane to stop Isil http://Telegraph.co.uk  - “The terror will not be over… unless we cooperate for a ground operation,” president Erdogan said in a televised speech in the eastern city of Gaziantep, adding that air strikes were not enough on their own.

AlSO: This guy https://twitter.com/cahitstorm ..is hiding in pepper fields a mile outside of Kobane …his tweets are surreal.

UPDATE: Not looking good …”Islamic State trying to reach downtown Kobane” - Kurdish man in Kobane tells BBC

UPDATE: Iran says it is ready to go to the aid of Kobane

KNOW THIS - IF KOBANI FALLS … US PRESIDENT OBAMA AND TURKISH PRESIDENT ERDOGAN ARE TO BLAME TT

BREAKING: FRANCE WILL ACT TO HELP KOBANI https://t.co/y3TVK5Kg1s …translation: “For Kobani we mobilize. We strengthen our own cooperation with the armed forces fighting”

UPDATE: Huge airstrike in west Kobane http://t.co/zPH4BinbFu ….YPG still holding strong - New coalition air strikes hit ISIS in Kobane - Reports that ISIS has been pushed back to edges of Kobane

UPDATE: CENTCOM on Kobani: “Indications are that Kurdish militia there continue to control most of the city”

ALSO: Girl,19, surrounded by ISIS fighters near Kobane runs out of ammunition, said “goodbye” over the radio & killed herself with her last bullet.

ALSO: A senior female Kurdish commander on Kobane’s defence council, Meysa Abdo, told the BBC: “If the coalition is serious about degrading IS, then Kobane is where they should target IS because they have an effective partner on the ground which has successfully fought back against IS alone.”

ALSO: FSA fighting alongside Kobane Kurds http://mme.cm/ND8U00

UPDATE: ISIS fighters capture Kurd HQ in Syria’s Kobani http://t.co/iPfMceY0zy

U.N. warns: “Thousands ‘will most likely be massacred’ if Kobani falls to jihadists”

ALSO: Chief Commander of FSA group Al Shams Abu Leyla denies ISIS controls 40% of Kobane …”We continue our fighting alongside YPG”

CHATTER: Possible arms on the way for YPG

ALSO: Drug-crazed ISIS savages rape, slaughter and behead children http://mirr.im/1vhdZDa

MORE: 4 IS suicide bombers attacked YPG positions in Kobane the past 12h - Kurds claim all failed

UPDATE: Coalition airstrikes hit ISIS this morning in Kobane , 2 huge explosions http://t.co/Yoef4aZjmZ

UPDATE: 30 days of resistance in Kobani, YPG and Kobani still standing

Is ISIS Really on the Run?

Why the US portrayal is Very Far from the Truth


by Patrick Cockburn  

A graphic illustration of Western wishful thinking about the decline of Islamic State (IS) is a well-publicised map issued by the Pentagon to prove that the self-declared caliphate has lost 25 per cent of its territory since its big advances last year.


Unfortunately for the Pentagon, sharp-eyed American journalists soon noticed something strange about its map identifying areas of IS strength. While it shows towns and villages where IS fighters have lost control around Baghdad, it simply omits western Syria where they have been advancing in and around Damascus.

The Pentagon displayed some embarrassment about its dodgy map, but it largely succeeded in its purpose of convincing people that IS is in retreat. Many news outlets across the world republished the map as evidence of the success of air strikes by the United States and its allies in support of the Iraqi army and Kurdish forces in Iraq and Syria. The capture of Tikrit after a month-long siege is cited as a further sign that a re-energised Iraqi state is winning and one day in the not too distant future will be able to recapture Mosul in the north and Anbar province in the west.

How much of this comforting news is true? Recall that the loss or retention of territory is not a good measure of a force such as IS using quasi-guerrilla tactics. Good news from the point of view of Baghdad is that its forces finally retook the small city of Tikrit, though its recapture was primarily the work of 20,000 Shia militia and not the Iraqi army, which only had some 3,000 soldiers involved in the battle. It was not a fight to the finish and General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said IS only committed a few hundred fighters to holding the city.

Success at Tikrit was trumpeted at home and abroad and was to be followed by an Iraqi army offensive in Anbar province and possibly an assault on Mosul later in the year. But, just as this was supposed to begin, IS fighters attacked Baiji oil refinery, the largest in Iraq, and Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province, showing that they retain their offensive capability. As of last Thursday, IS fighters had seized most of the 36-square-kilometre refinery compound with only a few pockets of Iraqi federal police and soldiers still holding out. “We have very little food and ammunition, and we can’t withstand the suicide bombers, snipers and rockets,” said a federal police officer reached by phone by the Iraq Oil Report. “All of us are thinking of committing suicide.”

What emerges from the latest round of fighting is not only that IS retains the ability to launch offensives over a wide area, but that the Iraqi army very much depends on rushing a small number of elite combat units like so many fire brigades to cope with successive crises. One source in Baghdad told me that the number of troops useable for these purposes was about five brigades or some 15,000 soldiers. Other published reports suggest the number may be even smaller at 5,000 men drawn from the so-called Golden Brigade, an Interior Ministry Swat team and a unit known as the Scorpions. When these small but effective forces succeed in repelling an IS attack there is nobody in the regular army to hold the positions they have defended.

A key question since IS captured much of northern and western Iraq last year concerns the ability of the Iraqi army to reconstitute itself after such a defeat. Going by recent fighting this is simply not happening, and failure here has important political consequences for Iraq and the region as a whole. It means that IS is not being beaten back by the regular army in its most important strongholds in Iraq. As a result the Baghdad government is this weekend poised to send Shia militias into overwhelmingly Sunni Anbar province to reinforce the army. “We are under tremendous pressure,” an army officer fighting in Anbar was quoted as saying. “We are in the midst of a war of attrition, which I am afraid will play into the hands of Islamic State.” He described their fighters as being “everywhere”.

The move of Shia militiamen, organised and in part directed by Iranian officers, into western Sunni Iraq creates a dilemma for the US. The Americans have been insisting that the militias be under the military control of Baghdad, though how you prove this is another matter. Washington had been hoping to repeat, if only in miniature, its success in using anti-al-Qaeda tribes and communities against the jihadis in 2006-08. Today this is almost impossible because there are no longer 150,000 US troops in Iraq, IS has shown it will kill anybody opposing it, and Sunni-Shia sectarian fear and hatred is deeper than ever. The 90,000 Sunni refugees who fled Ramadi for Baghdad when the fighting started found it difficult or impossible to enter the capital because they were suspected of being IS infiltrators. Their fate is a grim illustration of the degree to which Iraq no longer exists as a unified country.

At the heart of the failure of the US and its allies to defeat IS over the last 10 months is the problem that what makes military sense is politically toxic and vice versa. The strongest military force opposing IS in Iraq is the Iranian-backed Shia militias, but the US imperative to limit Iranian influence in Iraq means that it does not want to support the militias with air strikes. In Syria, there is a somewhat similar situation since the Syrian army is the most powerful military force in the country, but it does not receive US tactical air support when fighting IS or Jabhat al-Nusra, the al-Qaeda affiliate, because a US priority remains to displace President Bashar al-Assad. As a result IS is not under serious military pressure in Syria and its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, has recently issued orders for fighters to transfer from Aleppo to Iraq.

Wishful thinking about the strength of IS and other al-Qaeda-type movements is not confined to foreign powers. Baghdad governments are always inclined to believe their own propaganda or see themselves as victims of conspiracies. Last summer the Shia leaders in Baghdad had convinced themselves that they were the victims of a conspiracy in which the Kurds were in league with IS. It came as a shock to them when the Kurds were the next victims of an IS offensive last August. In Baghdad last week the Interior Minister, Mohammed Salem al-Ghabban, summoned dozens of journalists to meet him so he could blame them for creating the conditions for IS successes.

The Pentagon’s misleading map shows the degree to which false optimism dominates the thoughts and actions of the outside powers in Iraq, Syria and rest of the Middle East. It reminds me of the situation early last year when President Obama, in receipt of the best information US intelligence could give him, dismissed IS as being the equivalent of a small-time basketball team whose actions were of no importance.

Source:- http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/05/04/is-isis-really-on-the-run/

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A 700-strong all-female unit of Peshmerga Kurdish militia are currently involved in fighting the Islamic State in Northern Iraq and have been instrumental in securing the Kurdistan region.

The unit was created in 1996 in order to help combat Saddam Hussein loyalists. Since that time they have predominantly existed in a supporting combat role but have recently been used on the front lines at Kirkuk and securing oil fields in Bai Hassan.

The majority of the women are volunteers and have been trained alongside SWAT teams and special forces units. They are led by Colonel Nahida Ahmed Rashid, who began her military career fighting for the Kurdish separatist movement as a teenager and is now the highest-ranking female officer in the Kurdish army.

Some Western media outlets have framed the use of female soldiers as terrifying to the forces of the Islamic State and that they find it dishonourable to be killed by women. However others have pointed out that the IS and al-Qaeda field their own all-female battalions.

A BBC correspondent followed the Peshmerga women was impressed by their motivation to protect other women who have been victims of the IS forces. She also described the support they received from their families and community. “People know that they’re fighting a very, very tough fight,” she said. “But also, in a way, they know that these are pioneers, not just in Kurdistan, but in the region.”

News Sources:

http://www.pri.org/stories/2014-07-16/kurdish-iraq-fight-against-isis-isnt-just-men

http://www.pri.org/stories/2014-08-07/meet-female-colonel-leading-kurdish-forces-battle-against-isis

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-28308632

'I Do Not Believe There Will be Peace'

ERBIL, IRAQ—When Kurdish peshmerga, Iraqi army, and U.S.-led coalition forces move to liberate nearby Mosul, possibly within two weeks, Islamic State fighters will not abandon their prized city and quietly slink away as many in Washington have predicted, according to the peshmerga’s top military officer.

“They will fight to the death,” said Gen. Jamal Mohammad Omer, Kurdish military chief of staff, in an exclusive interview in his office Thursday.

Just when that fight will begin, however, seems out of his hands. Peshmerga commanders said they are awaiting political negotiations with Iraqi leaders they do not trust for a future they cannot predict. But the future is on everyone’s mind. With the battle for Mosul looming, peshmerga leaders sense they are now on a path that leads beyond the defeat of ISIS, if not yet to the ultimate destination of Kurdish independence.

Until then, they are cooperating with the Iraqi government. Kurdish, Iraqi, and U.S. officials met Monday in Erbil for the latest negotiations, which a coalition spokesman described as a major step toward Mosul. U.S. leaders have said that operation could begin as soon as the middle of October; surrounding towns already are being liberated.

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“We are ready,” said Omer, who also goes by Jamal Mohammed. “If we liberate Mosul, Daesh will be finished,” he said, using the preferred derogatory acronym for the Islamic State.


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On Thursday, Iraqi forces pushed into the center of Shirqat, a town south of Mosul and Erbil along the Tigris river. It lies near Qayyarah West, the Iraqi airfield that has become a key military base for massing U.S., Iraqi, and coalition forces that include French artillery units. U.S. commanders in Baghdad have placed a media blackout on the base, as they have over much of the American combat experience here. But the U.S. presence has been vital to the peshmerga’s success against ISIS, according to several officers, from a platoon commander to the chief of staff, who spoke with me this week at the Bnaslawa training camp and in ministry offices in Erbil.

“We are still part of Iraq, but in name only,” said Omer. “We didn’t get any military support from Iraq” when ISIS moved into their region. “Many countries tried to help us, to help peshmerga. They stopped.”

For two years, the government of Iraq has provided the peshmerga no military assistance, he said. Instead, peshmerga watched ISIS move through Mosul, scooping up the arms Iraqis left behind. Now, they say they need Western-coalition militaries to send them more weapons, including heavy weapons, to continue the fight and secure Kurdistan. “Who knows? Maybe we will face another enemy like ISIS, so we need to be prepared for that.”

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For now, peshmerga leaders said, Kurdish fighters will do their jobs by creating lanes for the Iraqi military to advance into the center of Mosul and hand over whatever territory they secured, per whatever pre-battle agreement is made. They know what is at stake for Kurdistan’s future.

“Our participation in the Mosul operation has some risk. We don’t want a civil war between Kurdish and Iraq in Mosul. There may be some groups that try to make problems between the two peoples,” Omer said. “It was good for us to not go inside Mosul.”

The fight, he said, is not against Iraq. It’s against their common foreign enemy, ISIS.

“After liberation, we don’t want to see civil wars between minorities. We want the citizens of the city to decide how they want to run the city,” said Brigadier Halgurd Hikmat, the Ministry of Peshmerga’s general director of media, culture and national awareness, in his Erbil office Wednesday.

First, they must reclaim Mosul, the prize of the Islamic State’s caliphate, just 40 miles from here. Just west of Erbil, at the Bnaslawa training camp, Italian and German troops have been training brigades of new and veteran peshmerga fighters. One non-U.S. coalition trainer, who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to speak to the media, said the program has evolved since he was first here in 2014. It now includes specialized counter-IED and intelligence network training.

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Among the trainees are First Lt. Nawzad Amjad’s platoon of 33 men, who came from the front lines to get 10 weeks of instruction on a range of subjects from urban assault to electronic warfare, communications, and countermines. “Morale is very, very high,” among his troops, Amjad said. “They are peshmerga. They know what they are fighting for.”

To explain, the junior officer invokes a word spoken frequently among peshmerga commanders: injustice. “We don’t believe in any injustice,” he said. Amjad said he has known only injustice against Kurds his entire life. He is 30 years old.

“To be honest with you, we have no trust with our neighbors—not Arab, not Turk, not Iran.”

Amjad spoke at the edge of a mock Kurdish village built of concrete cinder-block homes and two-story shipping containers, the kind now so familiar to the U.S. military, intelligence, and private-military-contractor personnel who have deployed to this region since 2003. The training supplied by the U.S.-led coalition has made “a huge difference,” he said. “Because here, the Iraqi government is not helping us, not supporting peshmerga. So all support we get comes from the U.S. and coalition officials.” He, too, worries the West will abandon them when they are no longer needed.

“This time, we hope they don’t do the same thing. This time, we hope they stay with us. To be honest with you, we have no trust with our neighbors—not Arab, not Turk, not Iran. Because they think of themselves as a big fish and they have to eat all the small fishes. We hope that we will have good relationship with the U.S., with the coalition, and this relationship will continue after Daesh, and not just be temporary this time.”

Across the base, Capt. Tarik Fariq, a company commander, watched Italian commanders teach his men how to take a firing position, don a gas mask, and fire and reload their coalition-provided M-16s. “Peshmerga are fighting terrorists on behalf of the whole world,” Fariq said, who previously worked as a journalist. “Kurds are fighting injustice,” he said, and they are good at it, but they are weak on equipment. He, too, wants the U.S. and coalition militaries to remain.

“We hope they will stay and support us,” he said. “I hope they will continue. We are living in this geographic area that is filled with conflict … so always we will need coalition support.”

Back in Omer’s office, the chief of staff sipped strong coffee. “If you remember in 2011 when Americans left Iraq, you see what happened, the groups such as Daesh came up,” he said. “Hopefully the U.S. will consider this and look at what happened in the past and what could happen in the future. You have to be careful with your decision.”

Hikmat, the younger peshmerga spokesman, said there are two goals ahead: defeat ISIS and win independence. “Certainly. No doubt. Every single peshmerga wishes that.”

Omer entered military service in Baghdad in 1982, joined the peshmerga in 1991, and has fought and commanded Kurdish troops across the entire region. He has the same wish, but a more seasoned outlook. There should be no fight for independence; that should come via public referendums and negotiations. But he said there are too many people who, if they take seats in the Iraqi government, will have the same mindset of previous governments against Kurdistan.

“In my personal opinion, I do not believe there will be peace.”


This post appears courtesy of Defense One.

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This article was originally published on The Atlantic.