Iranians Join Protests in Support of Syria-Turkey Border Town Kobane, Beseiged by ISIS

A poster in Kurdish and Persian, calling for a gathering in front of the United Nations headquarters in Iran on Wednesday October 8, 2014.

A poster in Kurdish and Persian, calling for a gathering in front of the United Nations office in Iran in support of Kobane on Wednesday, October 8, 2014.

Protesters in Iran and elsewhere around the world have taken to streets to publicly support the people of Kobane, the prominently Kurdish Syrian city near the Turkish border, as they desperately try to fend off ISIS.

The city of Kobane has been under attack since mid-September by ISIS, the Al Qaeda offshoot that has come to control large parts of Iraq and Syria using brutal and violent tactics, leading nearly 200,000 inhabitants to flee to nearby Turkey. Though ISIS forces have encountered resistance from Kurdish forces, since this post was last updated, ISIS was encroaching upon the city center of Kobane. 

Aiding forces in Kobane as ISIS encroachment intensifies has been subject to geo-political disagreements, especially by the key regional actors: Turkey, Iran, and the United States.

The US-led coalition has stepped up airstrikes against ISIS in Kobane's vicinity since Tuesday, however, the Turkish government alongside Kurdish forces have appealed to the US to step up their efforts to a ground invasion to prevent the city from falling completely under ISIS control. 

“The terror will not be over… unless we cooperate for a ground operation,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was quoted saying in an Al Jazeera report yesterday. “I am telling the West – dropping bombs from the air will not provide a solution.”

The Iranian government however, has spoken out against Western intervention in the city, calling on nations to support the Syrian government in defeating ISIS forces in Kobane. In a press conference on Tuesday, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham stressed the importance of supporting Syria, and pledging Iran's deep concern for the situation. She told reporters, “The Islamic Republic of Iran will soon send humanitarian aid to residents and refugees in this area through the Syrian government.”

Iran is a close ally of Syria's embattled President Bashar Al-Assad. More than 191,000 people have died in the bloody three-year-long civil war for control of Syria between forces loyal to Al-Assad and the factions that are opposed to his rule, who first rose up during the wave of Arab Spring demonstrations across the region. ISIS has taken advantage of the fighting to win land for itself, and Al-Assad has been accused of allowing the group to do so. 

Meanwhile, protests have popped up in support of the humanitarian situation inside Kobane. Iranians have been standing in solidarity this past week, often criticizing Turkey's lack of humanitarian aid and inaction in the situation. Kurds have also called for more military support from Turkey; at least 12 Kurdish protesters were killed following clashes with Turkish police.

The hashtags #TwitterKurds, #Kobani and #کوبانی have been trending for this social media support. 

Iranians in the city of Sandaj marched in solidarity with the people of Kobane, as seen in a video shared by Radio Farda:

Demonstrations have been organized elsewhere, such as this one in Berlin:


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