chapter  6
9 Pages

A YPG Volunteer

WithJonathan Spyer

In October 2014, with its advance on Erbil and Baghdad halted, the Islamic State turned back westwards. Kobani was a bone in the throat for Islamic State (IS). It was the direct point at which the projects of IS and the Kurds encamped in the ruins of Syria clashed. The more modest and sane Kurdish project was to provide a chance for autonomous organization for one of the region's most oppressed peoples. The People’s Protection Units (YPG) was a well-organized, serious force, with an established bureaucracy. The combination of US air power and the YPG, supported by a small force of Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga on the ground, was sufficient to turn the tide. The jihadis, once again, would not get to drink their tea in "Ayn al-Islam." The Amara community center was, as a result, filled up on that February day not only with local Kurdish activists and volunteers.