Kobane residents eye return, Kurdish group thanks Turkey

Kobane residents eye return, Kurdish group thanks Turkey

Kobane / Şanlıurfa
Kobane residents eye return, Kurdish group thanks Turkey

Kurdish people attend a celebration rally near the Turkish-Syrian border at Suruç, in Şanlıurfa province on January 27, 2015. AFP PHOTO/BULENT KILIC

As Kobane residents, some 200,000 who fled to Turkey due to the attacks of jihadist militants, await returning to the war-torn city after the 134th day of clashes, a senior leader of the Kurdish forces has thanked Turkey for its efforts. 

“We thank everyone, Turkey in particular, for their support in Kobane,” said Enver Muslim, a senior official of the Democratic Union Party (PYD). The Turkish government views the PYD with deep suspicion because of its ties to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). “Everyone has a share in this success,” Muslim said, adding that they would start working on the return of the residents soon. Kurdish officials in Kobane plan to make a call for the return of the displaced people by spring, as the town has vastly been destroyed and is facing water and utility problems, Doğan News Agency reported yesterday. 

The ferocious battle for the Syrian border town has wrought massive destruction, according to journalists who arrived in the town, starting from Jan. 27. 

Kobane streets, now patrolled by members of the People’s Defense Forces (YPG) and the Women’s Defense Forces (YPJ), the armed branches of the PYD, with barely a civilian in sight, were a mass of rubble and gutted buildings, Agence France-Presse quoted its journalists as saying. 

Celebrations in Turkey

Kurdish fighters armed with Kalashnikov assault rifles greeted the journalists with a hail of celebratory gunshots into the air and made the “V” for victory sign. There were celebrations marked by gunfire in many Turkish cities with high Kurdish populations late on Jan. 27 as well. In one Kobane street, a mortar shell lay on the pockmarked asphalt, AFP reported. In another, a bright yellow car was left abandoned in the rubble, riddled with bullet holes, as a couple of men walked by to inspect the damage.

The seniors of the Kobane canton there have said they plan to build an opera museum in a particular part of the town, as they want to build a new town on the Miştenur Hill, Doğan News Agency reported Jan. 28. Damaged cars and buildings will remain untouched, they said. 

Ankara should cooperate with Kobane, said Selahattin Demirtaş, the co-leader of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), during a provincial congress in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır. 

“The defeated in Kobane is the one that claims to know Islam the best. This reminds us of an understanding in Turkey that claims to know democracy the best. This is the understanding that was defeated [in Kobane]. If we want a new life, we have to produce a new policy,” he said, adding that this was possible if “Ankara joins hands with Kobane.” 

The government had received harsh criticism from the HDP for its “poor efforts” at the start of the Kobane clashes. The government, on the contrary, accused the HDP of provocation. Violent protests and clashes in early October 2014 between locals who took to the streets, accusing the government of failing to take action against ISIL, resulting in the loss of more than 50 lives.