In Syria, Kobani remains under siege as Islamic State fighters continue to push their offensive on strategically coordinated efforts to overtake the city. The Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga and Syrian rebels have pushed an offensive against ISIS positions with the support of weapons supplied by United States forces.
The city of Kobani, which rests on the boarder of Turkey and Syria, has become a primary target for ISIS, and a representation of how far the U.S. can intervene without direct military engagement in the conflict. The city has been embattled for over a month. It remains unclear as to whether the armaments supplied will be adequate to combat ISIS advances. Turkish forces remain positioned on the boarder but have not yet engaged in the resistance.
Last week, 300 Sunnis in Iraq were executed for opposing the ISIS lead campaign to establish the group’s caliphate over the two countries. The group has also captured two petroleum fields from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s standing army.
While the U.S. has performed airstrikes against ISIS fighters in Kobani, it has not seemed to slow their advances. Defenders in Koboni have actually incurred more losses, after reports of an increase in causalities since the bombings. This latest Kurdish backed offensive is estimated to include around 150 fighters from across the Turkish border.
The focus on Kobani in the media has retained the majority of ISIS military campaign coverage. Yet ISIS fighters have continued their strategy of terrorizing and killing civilians that oppose their efforts in Iraq and Syria. According to Reuters, “more than 320 members of the Albu Nimr tribe, including women and children, have been hunted down, captured, shot and buried in mass graves,” in towns lying west of occupied Baghdad.
Although there has been support for an occupation of U.S. forces into the region, the Obama administration has remained adamant that “boots on the ground” will not be an option for combating ISIS.
CNN reported in September that during a Senate Armed Services Committee, General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, stated, “It was possible that U.S. troops advising and assisting Iraq’s military could be deployed to fight.”
However, officials and the public remain divided about whether another occupational war in the region is an appropriate response. According to CNN/ORC polling done last month, 61% of respondents opposed placing U.S. forces on the ground while 8 in 10 supported using military force not entailing direct engagement.