Syria Daily, Nov 20: Is Islamic State About to Lose Battle of Kobane?

LATEST: Insurgents Attack 1 of Regime’s Last Positions in Southwest Syria Near Israeli Border


Snapshot: Life in Damascus Suburb of Douma — “Most People Are in Bad Situation”
How the Islamic State Rules Over Raqqa

UPDATE 1530 GMT: An Islamic State fighters rejects Kurdish claims that a vital road link into Kobane has been cut by their militia, blocking supplies to Islamic State forces inside the town.

The claim is part of Kurdish assertions this week that they are on the verge of defending the jihadists after their weeks-long occupation of part of Kobane.

Claims are circulating that Kurdish forces have pushed back the Islamic State after its three-month offensive in and near Kobane in northern Syria.

The Islamic State has occupied up to 40% of the town, near the Turkish border, for weeks; however, Kurdish officials have said in recent days that their fighters have recaptured a series of hills around Kobane and have pushed the jihadists into the southeastern corner of the town.

A Kurdish fighter shows off weapons and ammunition after the capture of an Islamic State position in Kobane:

It is difficult to verify the Kurdish assertions; however, one interesting piece of evidence pointing to the Islamic State’s difficulties comes from its own side.

Joanna Paraszczuk posts the plea of an Islamic State fighter inside Kobane to their supporters:

You’re all comfortable in a soft bed, and we are anxious under a rain of missiles.

You will not understand the feeling when the sky is torn up from drones, and the earth is bursting from what is falling on it.

You do not understand the feeling when you lie, hoping to sleep an hour before your next turn guarding the front, and there are bombs falling and fragments of the ceiling drop on you, when you do not know which of the walls will fall on you in the next few minutes, or even worse, the roof.

When brothers are killed in front of you, yes, yes, we have seen all that in the movies, but few have experienced it, when you know there is no turning back, that hell is behind you and ahead of you are trials.

The fighter, Adam al-Almani, concludes with an appeal: Pray for Us.

Insurgents Attack 1 of Regime’s Last Positions in Southwest Syria Near Israeli Border

Pressing their offensive in Quneitra Province in southwest Syria, insurgents attacked and briefly entered Baath City, near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, on Thursday.

Baath and nearby Khan Arnabeh are the last positions of the Syrian army in the province following a series of insurgent advances this year.

Activists said insurgents, including the Islamist faction Jabhat al-Nusra, were in street fighting with regime forces in the city centre overnight before they were pushed back to the outskirts on Thursday.

Thousands of Baath City’s 30,000 residents have fled.

Baath was named after Syria’s ruling Baath Party and became the provincial administrative center after the destruction of nearby Quneitra city in the 1967 war with Israel.

Insurgents, renewing their offensive in the province this week, said they had captured several villages on the outskirts of Baath.

Video: Detailed Discussion of Chechen Factions Fighting in Syria

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty posts an excellent, detailed video discussion by Joanna Paraszczuk of the Chechen factions fighting in Syria — those within the Islamic State, those within the insurgency, and those “independent” of both sides.

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Scott Lucas is Professor of International Politics at the University of Birmingham and editor-in-chief of EA WorldView. He is a specialist in US and British foreign policy and international relations, especially the Middle East and Iran. Formerly he worked as a journalist in the US, writing for newspapers including the Guardian and The Independent and was an essayist for The New Statesman before he founded EA WorldView in November 2008.


  1. Brothers in arms at ISIS.
    Do not worry. We will pray for you.
    Better hurry and die. Virgins are running out.
    Once the virgin houris runs out, they are serving you virgin goats instead, which though not preferable, is not something totally foreign to you.

  2. The of an Islamic State fighter inside Kobane remindsme of many such pleas by FSA fighters under bombardement from Assad’s army.

    • To Catmari: In ISIS case, the bombardment by US Air Power is much worse. The ending of your sentence should read ” “under bombardment by Assad’s air force.” The SAA the rebels can handle (and actually its the SAA plus Iranian and Lebanese Shia militia plus Afghan mercenaries). Also, unlike ISIS pleas, those by the rebels usually have more to do with civilian suffering than rebel troops. The Genocide Air Force intentionally targets the former and rarely hits the latter.

      When Assad manages to concentrate land forces and artillery in a combine arms attack employing air power as well, rebels always manage to slip away and all the regime captures is rubble after suffering heavy losses. See Qalamoun and Quysar for how it works. That’s gotta frustrate the Genocide Regime which has yet to inflict a killer victory after 3 1/2 years and with tons of help and allies compare to the rebels.

      • @RT: Translation of my comment

        ” The plea of an Islamic State fighter inside Kobane reminds me of many such pleas by FSA fighters under bombardment from Assad’s army.” = “It sound like they’re getting a pounding”. + “They’re not exactly as afraid of injury and death as they make themselves out to be”.

        Hope that helps. And yes, army should have been air force. I was in a huurrryyy 🙂

  3. The last Henriette van Lynden lecture, “ISIS Tilting the Chess Board: The Dawn of a New Middle East Balance of Power”, was held on 14 November in Amsterdam. The lecture series is organised by the North Africa and Middle East Department of the Dutch foreign ministry.

    Iraqi journalist Mina al-Oraibi (Asharq al-Awsat); Prof. Bernard Haykel, Saudi Arabia and Salafism expert at Princeton University; and Dr. Ali Vaez, senior analyst Iran at the International Crisis Group gave excellent presentations on the failure of governance in Syria and Iraq, the links between Saudi Arabia’s wahhabism and ISIS’ ideology, and Iran’s vision in the fight against ISIS respectively.

    The lecture was well-received and gave some great insights in the issues surrounding the current conflict. You can watch the debate in full on this YouTube Channel. In the description box, you will find the option to skip to specific parts of the debate.

    High quality photos of the event were taken by Wim van Doorn, and can be viewed in this Flickr album.


    Re: “Regime Is Firmly in Control of Shaer Oil Fields

    Faced with Lose-Lose choices in Shaer, the regime resembles a fly stuck to the flypaper.

    To lose the oilfields would mean an intolerable winter in Damascus. IN so many places Assad (the Syrian Hitler) desperately needs top shelf troops tied up in Shaer. There was a time when he could rely on low numbers and second raters to do the job there. No longer.

    Given the number of times the Genocide Army has lost and regained the oil field, the continuing depletion of men and equipment there, where is the “firm” control. All Assad can hope to do these days anywhere is “hang on.” He has no prospect of any sustainable victories anywhere that I can see.

    • ISIS are advancing again on the Shaer oil fields. If ISIS take them for the 3rd or 4th time (I lost count) can we please stop this nonsense of the regime’s “Firm Control” of them? Even if the regime are able to retake the oil fields they seem to take more losses in an offensive to retake them than they do to defend them.

        • Answering Bill’s Query:

          #1: ISIS loses revenues used to pay fighters and provide services.

          #2: Damascus loyalists get to enjoy the same winter freeze as their victims.

          #3: Further demoralization of regime’s troops and civilian loyalists at a time when rebels threaten south of Damascus and possibly in Latakia, and ISIS threatens desert targets and Homs/Hama panic and discontent in Damascus should surely mount. Possible increased defections and surrenders on regime’s side. That Assad is cooked becomes more obvious.

          #4: An already burdened Iran will have to reach deeper into its pockets to support the costs of a super expensive empire–a quest which has already given Khamenei pariah status in the region and the West.

          • Good article that has a bit on the importance of the Gas fields.


            Essentially, Natural Gas is what powers Power plants. Losing these oil fields would mean that many areas would have a hard time generating power through the winter months. Although the article is a bit optimistic that the regime can hold these fields it does a good job explaining their importance. I don’t think the coalition will bomb the gas fields themselves as this would hurt a lot of civilians.

            My opinion is that if ISIS didn’t think they could regain these gas fields they would have sabotaged them. Just my opinion though.

            • So far, the US airstrikes have focused mostly on the small portable makeshift “refineries” ISIS has built to overcome lack of access to the major refineries in the area. These makeshift refineries mostly produce crudely refined fuel for use within Daesh territory, including in their own fighting vehicles.

              Much of the oil they sell to Syrian and Turkish middlemen is sold in crude form.

              To add to what James said: Daesh wants to be accepted as a state at least by people in the areas they control. So its not just about denying gas to government-controlled areas of Syria, it’s about obtaining gas supplies for the areas they control.

              Similarly, Mosul dam was critical because it was the major source of electricity and irrigation water to the Daesh-controlled areas of northern Iraq.

              Mosul went from 12 hours a day of power pre-Daesh to 24 hours while they controlled the dam (and cut off power to Baghdad) and is now down to 2-4 hours after they lost control of the dam again.

              Much of the Daesh-controlled area is rural. There was a bumper crop this year due to good weather but next year farmers will have to cope with less or no irrigation water, reduced access to major markets like Baghdad and Daamscus and quite possibly a fertilizer shortage.

      • pls tell thoes boys not to kill their self for nottin GOD has no plesure in a sinners death but rather to repent stop joinnig isil they are just deciving u to die for no just cause


    1. Rebels may still be getting some weapons in the south but I doubt it is so in the north. Obama’s notorious addiction to the idea of “forcing rebels to to the table by not letting the rebels win” could cut off even moderate rebels in the south at any time, benefitting the extremists as such behavior always has. Rebels in the south have also benefited from regime surrenders, defections and captured weapons.

    2. Assad can never get in a killer blow which must be frustrating. Except where terrain is defensively ideal for mowing down regime offensives, rebels have tended to go after softer targets and slip away only when the regime concentrates and situations look hopeless if they stay. The regime then ends up with the location while rebels slip away to fight again.

    3. Going after Morek or Sanaamein isn’t necessary now. Izraa may be sufficiently weakened but even there if rebels have cut the road further east, as maps suggest, Izraa then becomes nice but not critical.

    4. Up to this point air strikes have benefitted the regime by targeting JAN and ISIS exclusively so that Assad could ignore both to a great extent and concentrate on the rebels. What also helped to save Assad’s butt was ISIS’ own stupidity in persistence in the hard target at Kobane once it had little chance instead of the easier ones in the desert. What has kept the regime afloat there is not any military prowess on its own part. Should ISIS now concentrate on the desert will “Assad’s Savior” in Washington bring our air force to his rescue?

    5. In the north taking Idlib and the three regime bases near Deir Ezzor would cleanup the rebel rear for future offensives but the situation isn’t exactly parallel to the south where regime forces in the rear have more men and resources I think those regime holdouts are too battered to pose any serious threat except perhaps the copter base.

    The regime’s continued presence in Idlib could deter feuding in the rebel ranks. That’s an upside. I’m reminded of how much better off the regime might be today had it not driven the rebels out of Deir Ezzor with ISIS help. Any similar regime “victory” over the rebels could produce a similar disaster for Assad and local Alawite civilians there. I’ll bet he hasn’t figured that out yet.


    While rebels are moving on Damascus and perhaps Latakia such a move by ISIS would be highly problematic for Assad. Supposedly the article, which I can’t read, claims that ISIS has killed a top Genocide Regime commander in the city indicating a growing presence. Supposedly the article asks why the US coalition hasn’t helped.

    Homs has been almost totally cleansed of Sunnis and, as happened in the case of Jews sent to Hitler’s concentration camps, regime loyalists have replaced them. Rebels need to move aside and let Genocide Forces fight Genocide forces. Obama needs to stay out of any such clashes as well. Otherwise it would be like rushing to Hitler’s aid against Stalin in Berlin in 1945.

    Like Harry Truman, Obama needs to say “No! No! No!” UNLESS the major political obstacle to helping is removed. Loyalists must oust, arrest and hand over those with blood on their hands. Only when they do should rebels and Obama rush to their rescue.
    Whatever you may say about the rebels, they have the experienced troops on the ground to make a difference fast especially if backed by Obama’s Air Power and teaming up with Alawites against ISIS.


    The Paul family obviously spends too much time watching Russia Today and believes every accusation Putin makes. Earlier the pair learned from such reliable sources that Assad never attacked people with chemical weapons. It was the rebels who somehow managed to fire missiles they didn’t have from strong regime positions above Damascus, killing their own people, in a false flag attempt to make Assad look bad.

    Daddy and Son Paul also tell us there were no pro-Democracy demonstrators in 2011. All the demonstrators were Islamists link to Al Queda. They know this because Syrian government sources assure them it was so. See: “Russia Invades the Ukraine Again and Again and Again.”


    Islamic State advance against Assad-forces in Shaer gas fileds in eastern rural Homs–Source: Markito0171

    NPR ARTICLE: Consequences of Genocide Regime Policy for Sunni Civilians in Douma

    Before crying over possible loss of heat in Damascus or over any possible ISIS invasion of the regime’s heartland, it’s always important to remind yourself of the regime’s bestial nature.



    They’ve announced a new offensive and reportedly captured four towns in the south and an air defense base while assaulting a fifth. Archicivilians mentions and Air Defense base nearby so this could be in the Al Safira area.


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