Monday, October 13, 2014

Kill Sack?

Turkish armor is deployed north of Kobani is Syria where Kurds are struggling to hold back ISIL which is funneling more forces into the battle. A battle of annihilation is possible if the Turks can move fast.

ISIL (or ISIS or IS, the Islamic State) is funneling more troops into the high profile battle for Kobani:

The Islamic State group poured in reinforcements Sunday for its nearly month-long siege of Kobane as the Syrian town's Kurdish defenders kept up their high-profile resistance.

IS has sustained serious losses in the battle for the town despite their superior armour, with at least 36 of its fighters killed on Saturday alone, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.

With the world's press massed just across the nearby border with Turkey, the fight for the town has become one the jihadists cannot afford to lose, the Britain-based monitoring group said.

If the Turks use their mechanized forces to drive into Syria to cut off the jihadi forces focused on an image battle for Kobani, the Turks could replicate the Russian offensive around Stalingrad, a city which Hitler viewed as a decisive objective that he had to conquer for his image.

In a war where we worry about jihadis scattering to live and fight among civilian shields, cutting off the jihadis close to Turkey with Kurds holding the core and Turks holding the outer ring, this could be a hammer and anvil operation that turns into a battle of ISIL annihilation under an umbrella of Coalition air power.

So what's it to be? ISIL victory or ISIL defeat?

UPDATE: The Turks think that their enemies are killing each other. But by letting the fight go on, Turkey could lose this:

War on the militants in Syria is threatening to unravel a delicate peace in neighbouring Turkey where Kurds are furious with Ankara over its refusal to help protect their kin in Syria.

The plight of the Syrian Kurds in Kobani provoked riots among Turkey's 15 million Kurds last week in which at least 35 people were killed.

Turkish warplanes were reported to have attacked Kurdish rebel targets in southeast Turkey after the army said it had been attacked by the banned PKK Kurdish militant group, risking reigniting a three-decade conflict that killed 40,000 people before a cease-fire was declared two years ago.

And worse, Turkey doesn't look like it is positioned to launch a mechanized attack to cut off the ISIL fighters in a kill sack around Kobani.

Strategypage's discussion of the situation says that Turkey only has a company of tanks in position there.That's not enough for a mechanized drive into Syria.


The U.S. isn't sure why IS is fighting so hard for control of Kobani, a city with few resources and far removed from any capital. But like the U.S. with Kobani, a loss to a ragtag group of Kurdish fighters would be a propaganda loss for IS.

Much of the daily fighting in Kobani is caught on camera[. . . ]

IS has published pictures of its militants closing in on Kobani, aiming "to appear strong, undeterred, and unharmed by the strikes," said Rita Katz, director of the SITE Intelligence group, which monitors jihadist networks online. ...

The Islamic State relies on its global online propaganda machine, run largely by supporters far from the battle, to entice fighters, funding and other aid to the front. If the militants' victories begin to ebb in such a public forum, U.S. officials believe, so too will their lines of support. That alone makes the battle for Kobani a must-win fight for the U.S. strategy.

It's a prestige battle for ISIL. So defeating ISIL there is important. If that results in ISIL presenting themselves to be killed in larger numbers, all the better.

If Turkey would help turn this into a battle of annihilation by driving into Syria to cut off ISIL, that we would be even better.