by Joel Gillin, New Republic
The defeat of ISIS in the northern Syrian town of Kobani last January brought Kurdish fighters well-deserved international recognition. Not only was their victory strategic, but it also struck a blow to ISIS’s image as an unstoppable force in its quest to create an Islamic state. U.S. airstrikes assisted in the battle, but credit for the success belongs to the Kurds of Syria and Turkey, aided by 150 Peshmerga from Iraqi Kurdistan (KRG).
By most accounts, the Syrian Kurds—the People’s Protection Units (YPG)—and their counterparts from Turkey, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), have been the most effective forces against ISIS. But the West is hesitant to militarily contribute anything to them beyond air support, despite repeated calls from the Kurds for arms. Instead, the U.S. has funneled weapons toward moderate Syrian opposition rebels. To bolster these forces, the U.S. and Turkish governments will soon begin implementing a plan to train and equip 5,000 fighters a year for three years—though neither government can agree whether the real enemy is ISIS or Syrian President Bashar Al Assad. Read the entire story.