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Kobani: The Stadium of Death

I spent the past 12 days along the Turkish-Syrian boarder, reporting on the War Over Kobani. The Kurdish Cantone was in a state of devastation. It was difficult to spot people in the streets. But, collapsed buildings and thick smoke were everywhere…

It was interesting to realize that even a war zone could become monotonous. Every day was the same… Wake up at 6. Do your first live at 8. Do another one at 10. Put on your vest and helmet. Get as close as 500 meters to Kobani. Show the viewers where the aid strikes had hit. Eat your kebab. Sleep.

The town of Kobani also had a routine of her own. Mornings were usually “peaceful”. However, things would change after the midday prayers. Mortar fire and street battles wouldn’t stop. Coalition air strikes would be added on top. At 3pm, Kobani would suffocate in smoke. Meanwhile, I would watch the day’s events from a hilltop, alongside the Kurdish villagers. We would try to direct our binoculars to the source of smoke, as if we were following the football in a match of death…

If there was a major blast after a jet noise, the villagers would start applauding. “Biji Obama!” (Long live Obama!) they’d shout out. They had every reason to like Barack Obama. If it weren’t for the Coalition air strikes lead by Obama, Kobani would have fallen a while ago…

However, when I compared different days of war, it was obvious that the airstrikes weren’t enough to bring the War to an end. After the air strikes hit the ISIS supply routes, ISIS would pull back momentarily. Hours later, they would return to Kobani with car bombs. They would respond to the Coalition’s air strike “goal” with car bombs and mortar fire. 12 days past with successive goals on both sides. And nothing changed for Kobani. Except for the rising death toll…

The War Over Kobani produced 200 thousand refugees. More than 500 people died and more than 800 were brought to Turkey for treatment. In order to prevent these numbers from rising, an air supported ground operation is a must.

Last week, Iraqi Kurdistan’s Provincial Government had announced that they could not dispatch their forces to Kobani, for a ground operation. Back then, they claimed that they needed all their men to fight ISIS in Iraq. But things seem to have changed… Today the news broke that the Peshmerge (Iraqi Kurdish Armed Forces) were on their way to Kobani. Moreover, the Turkish Government announced that they would be aiding the Peshmerge’s passage through Turkey.

The Kurdish fighters in Kobani don’t want the Peshmerge. In addition, the Peshmerge’s military capabilities are questionable. On the other hand, they have stepped up to do what neither the Turkish government nor the International Coalition were willing to do. To attempt to blow the final whistle of this match of death, that is…

and that's me on the right….

Backdrop Kobani

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