Kobani battle will strengthen Kurdish militia, says US academic

Kurdish resistance against ISIL would also bear symbolic meaning for other minority communities in region

Kobani battle will strengthen Kurdish militia, says US academic

Kurdish resistance in the Syrian town of Kobani will make their fighting abilities stronger, a U.S. academic claimed on Tuesday.

Although there are conflicting accounts as to how many civilians are left in the Syrian-Turkish border town, Henri Barkey, a lecturer at Lehigh University, said that if ISIL is not stopped Kobani may well become another Halabja.

Located in the northeast of Iraq, Halabja was the scene of an infamous massacre, also known as Bloody Friday, where former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein killed more than 5,000 Kurds with the use of chemical weapon in 1988. 

Barkey’s remarks came during a panel discussion -- organized by the Washington-based think tank Bipartisan Policy Center -- on ISIL, Turkey and the Kurds.

He noted that the Kurdish resistance against ISIL would also bear a symbolic meaning for other minority communities in the region, by inspiring them to make themselves heard.

Barkey added that the Kurdish militia would only get stronger as they fought against ISIL and that this strengthening of Kurdish militias in northern Syria would make the war-torn country all the more crucial for Turkey. 

The Syrian-Kurdish militia currently fighting ISIL in Kobani, also known as Ayn Al-Arab, is an offshoot of the outlawed Kurdish Worker's Party, or PKK, which is listed as a terrorist organization by Ankara, as well as by the U.S. and the EU. 

Barkey noted that the Turkish leadership does not want see an independent Kurdish region in Syria, adding that preventing this would be one of its main priorities. 

 'Permission for using Incirlik base would be a surprise'

Former U.S. Ambassador to Turkey, Eric Edelman, also speaking on the panel, said that Ankara would not easily allow coalition forces use its Incirlik airbase in southern Turkey. 

Noting that one of the top priorities for Washington is to get access to the base, Edelman explained that if Ankara granted coalition forces permission to use the site, it would come as a big surprise to them. 

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Last Mod: 15 Ekim 2014, 12:59
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