It has been six years since the besieged town of Kobane was liberated.
Before the siege of Kobane, ISIS had captured large swathes of territory across Syria and Iraq. When ISIS began to target the Syrian Kurds in Kobane on 15 September 2015, they faced a massive resistance by the People’s and Women’s Defence Units (YPG and YPJ), who have resisted against ISIS despite all predictions of Kobane’s downfall.
One of those predictions came from the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who declared in October 2015 that “Kobane is about to fall”. Many internationalist supporters went to Kobane to join the Syrian Kurds defending the town against ISIS.
The sudden wave of unrest spread to Turkey on 6-8 October 2014, with protests in almost 30 cities from Istanbul to Diyarbakır, the heartland of the Kurds. The Kobane protests in Turkey led to the deaths of 37 people.
After 131 days of fighting, the YPG announced on 26 January 2015 that they had entered outlying areas in the east of Kobane after the jihadists retreated. The fighting left at least 1,600 people dead, among them 1,196 ISIS militants, according to data from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Since its liberation six years ago, Kobane has become a symbol of resistance against ISIS, who controlled territory in Syria and Iraq and brutally abused rivals and the local populations.