On-again, off-again ISIS attacks on the key Syrian Kurdish border city of Kobani (Ayn al-Arab in Arabic) have begun again this week, with ISIS forces managing to infiltrate the city with uniforms resembling those of the Kurdish YPG forces, and killing at least 200 civilians.
ISIS went door-to-door in the city, massacring civilians in what has been described as a “suicide mission,” taking scores of human shields and killing the rest as they awaited Kurdish security forces, by whom they were now surrounded. In addition to the slain, over 200 were reported wounded, many not expected to survive.
While it was among the single biggest attacks by ISIS in the war, the Kobani strike was believed to be a “distraction” for Kurdish forces, and the real target appears to have been Hasakeh, the de facto Kurdish capital in the northeast. ISIS fighters there seized a district in the city.
Having lost Tel Abyad, a small Raqqa Province town, to the Kurds last week, ISIS seems keen to get back on the offensive against them. ISIS has often used the tactic in Iraq of launching counteroffensives elsewhere after losing territory, forcing the enemy to spread the defenses even thinner.