ISIS Controls Half of Kobani as Peshmerga Arrive

Peshmerga Seen Unlikely to Turn Tide of Fighting

Rebel leaders say that the ISIS battle for Kobani (Ayn al-Arab in Arabic) is going better than the Kurds were claiming, and that the Islamists now control roughly half of the key Syrian border town.

The first Peshmerga fighters are arriving in Kobani, with 150 troops bringing anti-tank weapons to join the other Kurdish fighters. They arrived through Turkey, having been given passage by the Turkish government.

The decision of the Kurdistan Regional government (KRG) to send the Peshmerga at all is controversial among Iraqi officials, with key State of Law MP Ali Adib saying the deployment of Peshmerga abroad is a violation of the Iraqi constitution, which forbids involvement in overseas operations without government approval.

Adib also doubted that the 150 troops were going to make a serious difference in a battle that has raged for weeks, an assessment which seems much less controversial. Though some are welcoming the arrival as a potential game-changer in Iraqi-Syrian Kurdish relations, it is hard to imagine them turning the tide of battle.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.