Kurdish fighters are rushing to Syria to defend Kurdish cities from the Islamist State
Kurdish fighters, up to nine-hundred of them, have entered into Syria via Turkey over the past few days in order to join up with other Kurdish militant groups in the area. The fighters are gathering to defend the city of Ein al-Arab, known as Koban in the Kurdish language, which is located in northern Syria and is the country’s third largest predominantly Kurdish city.
The city has come under attack by the al-Qaida- breakaway Islamic State militant group. The downfall of the city would allow the Islamic State to move east towards Syria’s other predominantly Kurdish cities. This is something that the Kurds in the area desperately want to avoid and have been deadlocked in battles with the Islamic State since last year. The Kurdistan Workers Party, known as the PKK, has called upon all Kurdish militants to come defend against the Islamic State, a call which has been answered.
The Islamic State, which was previously known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, has already seized large chunks of territories in not just Syria, but Iraq as well. The group recently declared the establishment of an Islamic Caliphate in areas under its control and shortened its name to just the Islamic State. The group is quickly becoming the strongest among other jihadist groups in Syria and the richest radical organization in the Arab world.
Almost fifteen percent of Syria’s twenty-three million citizens identify as Kurds, most of whom live in the northern part of the country. The Kurdish citizens have tried to keep their communities out of Syria’s many conflicts, but to no avail. Fighting between Kurds and other jihadists groups has started to cover all of the Kurdish areas in northern Syria. For the most part, the Kurds have managed to hold their ground, but the power of the Islamist State continues to grow. Read more about the story here.