|Kurdish City of Afrin under Siege|
The Al Qaeda linked Al Nusra Front is besieging the Syrian Kurdish city of Afrin. The Kurds fear that the city could suffer the same fate as Kobane.
Nov 10, 2014, | Rachel Avraham
According to the Kurdistan National Assembly of Syria, Kobane is not the only city that is presently under threat by radical Islamist groups. The Kurdish city of Afrin is under siege by the Al Nusra Front, an Al Qaeda linked group. Kurdish leader Sherkoh Abbas calls on the international community to help save Afrin from the Al Nusra Front, so that they won’t share a similar fate that Kobane suffered by the hands of IS.
Afrin is located north of Aleppo and is just 200 kilometers west of Kobane, where coalition airstrikes combined with Kurdish forces fighting on the ground were the only thing that has thus far prevented IS from taking control of the city. The fact that the Al Nusra Front controls nearby Idlib worries Kurdish fighters in Afrin, who fear that it gives them a strategic advantage. At the present moment, Kurdish forces are preparing to defend the city against any potential attack.
“Afrin will face the fate of Kobane by the al-Nusra Front group (the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda), but if they surround Afrin, we are ready to defend ourselves,” Hevi Mustafa. Head of the Afrin Executive Council, told Reuters. “We are grateful for the efforts of the international community in Kobane but it came too late. We need urgent support in Afrin to prevent a scenario like Kobane.”
IS had attacked Afrin last year, but then they were repelled by Kurdish forces. Recently, the Al Nusra Front had signed agreements with other armed groups and decided to advance 25 kilometers from Afrin, one of the three major Kurdish areas in Syria. “Our Kurdish forces are prepared to defend Afrin as we did Kobane. We don’t like war. We want the Western powers to intervene,” Mustafa said.