Between Kobani &Turkey: How unarmed Kurdish brigade guards restive border

Between Kobani &Turkey: How unarmed Kurdish brigade guards restive border
Caught between ISIS-besieged Kobani and unwelcome in Turkey, an unarmed Kurdish brigade guards the Turkey-Syria border. The volunteers’ problems are not only with Islamic State militants – Turkish troops are also resolved to keep the brigade away.

The Kurdish volunteers can’t count on the Turkish army, who has been keeping close watch on the taskforce, to protect them from the Islamic State, also known as ISIS/ISIL. Talking to RT, the group’s head, Fadile Bayram accused Turkish forces of waging attacks on the volunteers.

We don’t carry weapons. We are here as a moral voice to show the world what is happening. We make the Turkish army angry, and they’ve attacked us with tear gas more than a hundred times,” he said.

Frustrated and frightened, volunteers showed resilience in the face of the Islamic State militants’ atrocities and roadblocks from the Turkish police.

“I tried so many times to cross the border but the Turkish police stopped us,” Zariah Kabak, a 90-year-old woman volunteer told RT’s Paula Slier. “I am ready to take a weapon to defend the Kurdish people. God gave us power. We can fight ISIS.”

Dozens of guards work in shifts throughout the night to monitor the activities of Turkish border police.

A resident of Zwahani, the closest accessible point to the Turkish border, Abdullah, spoke to RT without revealing his last name. He described the dangers in the region posed by ISIS.

“ISIS are always coming to the cars and trying to steal them. They try to take them and fit them with TNT and explosives so they can explode them inside Kobani," he said. “Three days ago they captured two old men that were inside a car and tried to kidnap them.”

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan is reluctant to support Kurds in Kobani because of their link to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a party advocating Kurdish self-rule in southern Turkey for the last 30 years.

When the US recently airdropped weapons and supplies to aid Kurdish militias defending Kobani, the Syrian city besieged by the ISIS since mid-September, US ally Turkey disapproved of the move.

Until Turkey sealed its border against the influx of Kurds fleeing the beleaguered Syrian city, thousands had entered the country and settled in refugee camps near the border.