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ʿAyn al-ʿArab: Population flees to Turkey to escape IS

KURDWATCH, September 24, 2014—Since September 19, 2014, more than one hundred thousand people from the city of ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî) and the surrounding villages have fled to Turkey due to the advance of the Islamic State (IS). According to KurdWatch information, by the evening of September 19, the Islamic State had captured and partially destroyed more than one hundred villages in the region. Until September 20, the Democratic Union Party’s (PYD) People’s Defense Units (YPG) were fighting on only one front in the east of ʿAyn al‑ʿArab. Since the morning of September 22, fighting is reportedly taking place on three fronts: eight kilometers to the west, ten kilometers to the east, and twelve kilometers to the south of ʿAyn al‑ʿArab. Around three hundred fighters for the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) reportedly came from Turkey on September 21 and are supporting the YPG. In addition, YPG fighters are said to have been trying since September 21 to reach ʿAyn al‑ʿArab from Raʿs al‑ʿAin (Serê Kaniyê). It is unclear why the IS has not been able to advance into the city of ʿAyn al‑ʿArab. According to eyewitness reports, the YPG had withdrawn from the city so that it would have been easy to capture.
Irritations arose on September 19, shortly after Turkey opened the official border crossing in ʿAyn al‑Arab, YPG‑fighters prevented refugees from crossing the border there. A short time later, however, the Turkish government opened several unofficial border points. The official border crossing was blockaded by the YPG until at least September 21.

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