According to the Kurdish website Rudaw, the Syrian-Kurdish forces in Kobane, augmented by peshmerga troops from Iraqi Kurdistan, are now pushing back the ultra-Islamists of Daesh (ISIS, or “Islamic state”).
Kurdish commanders in Kobane say that they now control half the city, which is in a Kurdish-majority part of Syria close to the Turkish border, and the other half is “destroyed” by US air strikes against Daesh.
Regaining territory, however, is a slow process of street-by-street fighting.
In Iraq, on 23 November Daesh launched an attempt to take the city of Ramadi, but elsewhere they have been marginally pushed back.
The same day, Iraqi-Kurdish forces and Iraqi Shia militias retook the city of Saadiya, in Diyala province. That victory, however, has been followed by a dispute, with the Kurds demanding that the Iraqi-Shia Badr Brigade, which now controls the city, hand it over to them.
The governor of Diyala has complained to the Iraqi government about Shia militias killing and kidnapping Sunnis in the province for “sectarian reasons, extortion, and to cause change in demographics”.
There have been repeated reports of incipient resistance to Daesh’s ultra-Islamist rule by Sunni Arabs in the areas which Daesh controls. To encourage that resistance and help it develop requires that visibly non-sectarian and democratic forces take the field against Daesh.
While asserting solidarity with the fighters in Kobane, socialists in Britain can give no confidence to the US operation and its sectarian allies.
We should do all we can to help the socialist and working-class forces in the Kurdish areas, in Iraq, and in Turkey.