ISIS commits ‘fatal’ blunders in Kobane battle

Smoke and flames rise over Syrian town of Kobane after an airstrike, as seen from the Mursitpinar border crossing on the Turkish-Syrian border.

Smoke and flames rise over Syrian town of Kobane after an airstrike, as seen from the Mursitpinar border crossing on the Turkish-Syrian border.

Forces loyal to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militant group have committed grave strategic mistakes in their fight to take control of the Syria-Kurdish town of Kobane, an analyst wrote in an opinion article for CNN.

In its fourth week, the battle for Kobane witnessed the fiercest fighting in days overnight when ISIS fighters attacked Kurdish forces with mortars and car bombs, sources in the town and a monitoring group said on Sunday, according to Reuters news agency.

ISIS fired 44 mortars at Kurdish parts of the town on Saturday, some of which fell inside nearby Turkey, according to the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. It said four more were fired on Sunday.

Justin Bronk, a research analyst in the military sciences program at the Royal United Services Institute in London, said ISIS’s strategies are now outdated in the face of different conditions posed in Kobane where Syrian-Kurdish fighters have lured the extremist militants to street battles, making them easy targets for U.S. and Arab warplanes.

In its surge through the territories ISIS now controls in Syria and Iraq, the group employed faced little resistance as its reputation of beheadings and torture preceded it, Bronk wrote.

In Kobane however, Syrian-Kurdish fighters have nowhere to flee as they are restricted by the nearby border with Turkey and the vast desert that surrounds the border town, forcing them into furious battles in the center of the town in effort to keep control of Kobane.

“Despite having surrounded Kobane and conducting aggressive and apparently well-coordinated infiltration attempts from multiple approaches, the sort of street-to-street ‘meat grinder’ that Kobane has become does not play to ISIS’s strengths,” Bronk said.

“Against an enemy with nowhere to retreat to and air support, a numerically limited force such as ISIS that normally relies as much on psychological effects as firepower to take ground faces a tough challenge,” he added.

“This is just as well since on the ground, it is only the bravery of lightly armed Kurdish fighters standing between ISIS and control of the town. Airstrikes are essential but could not keep ISIS out of the town alone,” Bronk explained.

The U.S.-led coalition targeted and destroyed a gas facility in the border town of Kobane, the Mail said citing activist collective Deir el-Zour Free Radio.

Eight men were killed believed to have been tanker drivers working for ISIS, as at least four of their burnt bodies were placed in a mosque near the facility.

Oil facilities in ISIS-controlled areas have been aggressively targeted by coalition airstrikes as they are believed to be a key source of income for the militant group.

 
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