State Department officials are warning that declarations of victory by Kurdish fighters in the Syrian town of Kobani (Ayn al-Arab in Arabic) are premature, and that it doesn’t amount to a significant turning point in the war against ISIS.
Kurdish YPG rebels declared that they had expelled ISIS entirely from Kobani on Monday, after over four months of fighting. ISIS still has a presence around the town’s outskirts, however, and seems likely to try again at any time, since they’ve repeatedly moved against Kobani in the past.
Officials also claimed ISIS had lost a huge number of fighters in Kobani, putting the death toll “in the four figures,” though exact tolls are naturally all but impossible to verify in the war zone.
Virtually the entire population of Kobani fled across the border into Turkey when the latest round of fights began months ago, and Turkish police today used tear gas to try to keep people from pouring back acrtoss the border, believing it is too soon for them to flock back to the town.