ANKARA (AFP) – The Islamic State (IS) group of jihadists has “impaled itself” on Kobane by pouring fighters into the strategic Syrian town so they can be bombed by the US-led coalition, a senior US envoy said Thursday.
Retired General John Allen, coordinator of the coalition against IS in Iraq and Syria, told Turkey’s Milliyet newspaper an estimated 600 IS fighters had already been killed in air strikes and the group would ultimately be defeated in the battle for the town.
“ISIL has in so many ways impaled itself on Kobane,” said Allen, using a variant of the name for IS.
He said that IS had sought to make a symbol out of Kobane by defeating the Kurdish forces seeking to retain control of the town.
IS continues to “pour fighters” into Kobane who can then be bombed by coalition war planes, he said, estimating air raids had killed some 600 jihadists and created “real problems” for them.
“Any time you mass to achieve the affect that they are trying to achieve with respect to Kobane, you create targets,” he commented.
He said IS’s ultimate retreat from Kobane would indicate that it has not been able to achieve its objectives. “I think, the sense is, if they pull out, this is going to be a real indicator that the ‘march to victory’ of ISIL has finally hit its high water mark.”
He said it was time to reverse the notion that IS was invincible. “And, in truth, what we are learning is that they are very defeatable.”