Fighting continued in Kobane, Syria Tuesday as the American led coalition carried out five air strikes around Kobane. Kurdish fighters said the help should have come much earlier.
Via the BBC:
Air strikes took centre stage today, apparently bringing the IS advance to a juddering halt. With jets overhead for long periods, IS clearly had to spend time under cover to avoid being hit. As a result, there was nothing like the intensity of fighting seen on Monday. At times, Kobane seemed eerily quiet.
Significantly, it seems the Kurdish defenders of Kobane are now communicating directly with US-led coalition forces. But air strikes alone may not be enough to stop IS taking Kobane in the long run. The Kurdish YPG militia claims to have the upper hand in street fighting, but it is outnumbered and outgunned by IS.
Only a ground operation, or significant military assistance from Turkey could carry any guarantee of success, and the prospects for this seem remote. Turkey’s conditions are not ones the US seems ready to accommodate.
The BBC’s Diplomatic Correspondent, Jonathan Marcus writes, “if Kobane falls it will be a serious set-back for the Kurds.”
But it will inevitably also raise fundamental questions about the scope and capacity of the US air campaign to combat IS, and about the diverse goals of the anti-IS coalition that the US has assembled.
Kobane, which is a small salient of land poking into Syrian territory, is in no sense an easy place to defend.
Many might wonder why US air power has not done more to stem the IS advance. Well for one thing the focus of what you might call US “tactical” strikes has been largely in Iraq. The air strikes in Syria have mainly been against IS command infrastructure and economic targets like oil installations.
Brigadier Ben Barry, the land warfare analyst at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in London notes that IS offensives typically begin with significant artillery preparation – several days of barrages from artillery, mortars, tanks and so on.
Oh and via White House Dossier – this is not encouraging, at all: Psaki: Let’s See, I’ve Got Those ISIS Successes Somewhere . . .