Hitting ISIS From the Air Isn't Working, Say Kurds

While on the ground, data suggests ISIS is getting ammunition from US, its allies
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 6, 2014 5:03 AM CDT
Hitting ISIS From the Air Isn't Working, Say Kurds
Turkish tanks hold their positions on a hilltop in the outskirts of Suruc, at the Turkey-Syria border, overlooking Kobani in Syria.   (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

The start of a new week brings not much in the way of encouraging ISIS news. The latest:

  • The news: Kurdish fighters battling ISIS in northern Syria say the airstrikes aimed at the militants there haven't done much to stop the group's advance on Kobani. Kurds put ISIS' position as within roughly a mile of the center of the city, which sits along the Turkish border. A rep for the Kurds explains to the Guardian that upon the approach of a jet, the fighters "scatter and hide. ... Fighter jets simply cannot hit each and every ISIS fighter on the ground." Though the Pentagon shares no specifics about strike locations, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reports that the areas around Kobani have been continually hit in recent days.

  • The significance: The Guardian sees the Kurds' assertion as one that will "unsettle those in the US-led coalition ... who have signed up to an air war as the best way of taking the fight to ISIS." As for why Kobani matters, it falls within the stretch of land that ISIS seeks to claim between its "capital" of Raqqa and the border with Turkey, notes CNN.
  • The news: The New York Times today reports on what ISIS fighters are using to wage their battle: ammunition from America and other enemy nations of ISIS. The finding comes from Conflict Armament Research's analysis of 1,730 cartridges found in Syria and Iraq—either sized by Kurdish fighters or gathered by CAR investigators. In the former country, most of the seized cartridges were manufactured in the 1970s and 1980s, most commonly in China. The cartridges found in Iraq were mostly of US origin, and manufactured in the 2000s. More than 80% of the ammunition was made in the US, China, post-Soviet Russia, and Serbia.
  • The significance: Per the Times, the data "carries an implicit warning for policy makers and advocates of intervention. It suggests that ammunition transferred into Syria and Iraq to help stabilize governments has instead passed from the governments to the jihadists."
Also, the parents of an American ISIS hostage released a letter he wrote to them. (More ISIS stories.)

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