June 26, 2015 | Quote

Modest In Terrain, Kobani Still A Win For ISIS

Like the pair of execution videos it released this week, the Islamic State’s surprise attack against the Syrian city of Kobani on Thursday was a violent spectacle that appeared to be as much about re-energizing its followers after a series of setbacks as it was about gaining strategic ground.

ISIS fighters reportedly disguised themselves as Free Syrian Army soldiers, detonated several car bombs and killed at least 35 people, including women and children. But compared to the group’s simultaneous assault on Hasaka—where the group claims to have killed at least 70 of President Bashar al-Assad’s forces and seized sections of the city—it was relatively modest.

“Kobani was not a major offensive,” said Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, a senior fellow at the Foundation For Defense of Democracies, who estimates the number of ISIS forces in the city to have only been between 30 and 40. Hundreds, meanwhile, had stormed Hasaka in Syria’s northeast, he said.

However, Gartenstein-Ross believes the celebrations among ISIS supporters may be short-lived. “They are slowly getting ground down, he says. “It’s not dramatic, but that’s the overall trajectory.”


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