Kurdish Forces Reclaim Kobani from ISIS, Erect Flag on Hill Where Heroic Female Fighter Died

( [email protected] ) Jan 27, 2015 11:50 AM EST
Female Fighters of Kurdish Troops Regain Kobani from ISIS
Female fighters of the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) carry their weapons as they walk in the western countryside of Ras al-Ain January 25, 2015. REUTERS/Rodi Said

Kurdish forces have driven Islamic State militants out of the Syrian town of Kobani after a bloody four-month-long battle, erecting their victory flag on a hill overlooking the city, a site symbolic of the heroism of Kurdish female fighters.

On Monday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported, "The shelling and clashes between YPG, backed by rebel battalions and other fighters from several brigades, and IS militants resulted in death of 1,313 fighters; 979 fighters from IS organization, including 38 fighters blew themselves up using booby-trapped vehicles and explosive belts, 324 fighters from YPG and 12 fighters from the rebel battalions."

The Kurdistan presidency confirmed the news in a message, and said: "Today we received the news of liberation of defiant Kobane. I congratulate all people of Kurdistan. ... This is the victory of humanity over the barbaric terrorists. ... It is an honor for people of Kurdistan to face the most evil terrorist organization ... and defeat it."

Smoke rises from the Syrian city of Kobani, following an airstrike by the U.S.-led coalition in November. AP Photo

As the fighting culminated, Kurdish troops raised their flag on Mistenur hill, which overlooks the town, replacing the Islamic State's notorious black banner, while male and female fighters excitedly shook hands.

The flag site is particularly symbolic of the heroism of  Kurdish women soldiers; In October, as ISIS invaded, Women's Protection Units fighter Arin Mirkan carried out a suicide attack on the hill against the militant group, killing herself and ten fighters.

'When the gangs entered the city after taking Mistenur, we declared we would turn the city into a hell for them," Biharin Kendal, a commander of the Women's Protection Units, explained after the victory, according to the Daily Mail.

'We fought in every house, every street, shed our blood and lost our comrades. But we knew we would eventually retake Mistenur and our plans have born fruit.'

Arin Mirkan
Kurdish female fighter, Deilar Kanj Khamis, military name, Arin Mirkan, blew herself up in Kobani, killing 10 ISIS fighters. Deilar Kanj Khamis. It was the first known case of a female Kurdish fighter carrying out a suicide bomb against IS. According to tributes on Twitter, she was a mother with two children. (Twitter)

He added, "By retaking the hill we have fulfilled the wishes of Arin and our other comrades who have fallen in the struggle.'

The defeat of ISIS marks a major success for both Kurdish forces and the U.S.-led coalition, as Kobani was seen as strategically important for its position right on the border with Turkey, according to Fox News.

BBC Analyst Paul Woods asserts that that the victory "would not have happened" without American bombing, but warned Kurdish and American fighters from resting on their laurels for too long.

"This setback for IS does not necessarily mean they are losing overall. Syrian opposition sources say IS actually have more territory under their control now than when the United States and its allies started bombing, last August," Woods said.

"In Iraq, the authorities say Islamic State have been pushed out of the eastern province of Diyala, but the jihadis have made gains to control most of the western province of Anbar. The battle against IS is ultimately a battle for Sunni Muslim public opinion - and Sunnis have been angered by the civilians casualties in their areas caused by US airstrikes."