Large numbers of Kurdish civilians have been displaced in northern Syria over the weekend by a new round of ISIS shelling against towns in and around Aleppo Province. The main target appears to be the border town of Ayn Al-Arab (known as Kobane in Kurdish).
The town is under the control of the Popular Protection Units (YPG) Kurdish militia, and has been for two years. ISIS has been keen to take border crossings in recent days, and this would add to their territorial possessions in Syria’s north-central region, near their de facto capital of Raqqa.
ISIS control of Raqqa has effectively split Syrian Kurdish territory in half, with the remaining Aleppo Kurds having no remaining land connection to the ones in the far northeast, along the Iraqi border. The Kurds in northeastern Syria retain one border crossing, held in common with Iraqi Kurdistan, though the civilians elsewhere remain under threat from ISIS.
The YPG, unwilling to cede the Aleppo towns yet, has issued a call to arms to try to defend the Kurdish towns and villages from ISIS incursion. While the YPG has enjoyed some success against ISIS in the past, it seems difficult to imagine that the remaining Aleppo possessions can be held.
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