By DUYGU KANVER
Capital News Service
LANSING – The Syrian town of Kobani, a predominantly Kurdish city by the Turkish border, has been under assault by the jihadist group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) since mid-September, leaving about 800 dead and 300,000 displaced from their homes. While airstrikes led by the U.S. have supported ongoing resistance by Kurdish forces in the region, Kurds say Turkey’s collaboration by opening its borders with Syria and Iraq is central to saving Kobani. “We ask for nothing from the Turkish government but this,” says Ruken Sengul, a Turkish Kurd postdoctoral fellow in the Armenian Studies program at the University of Michigan. On Oct. 29, Turkey’s borders were opened to Kobani-bound rebel fighters called the Free Syrian Army and a day later to Iraqi Kurdish fighters called the peshmergas, but those moves by the Turkish government didn’t satisfy the Kurds and Turks in Michigan.
By KATIE AMANN
Capital News Service
LANSING – As the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria intensifies, some Michigan-based foreign policy and Middle East experts are expressing doubts about the effectiveness of airstrikes and the importance of international support in combating ISIS. In a speech to the United Nations General Assembly, President Barack Obama said that the United States will continue a coordinated campaign of airstrikes in Iraq and Syria but that it cannot work alone and a coalition of countries offering aid and troops on the ground is essential. A new study from the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, a think tank in Washington, D.C., reported that the U.S. has already spent $780 to $930 million combating ISIS. Ron Stockton, a professor of political science and a research associate at the University of Michigan Center for Middle East and North African Studies, said that the most important countries to recruit for the military coalition are Turkey and Saudi Arabia because of their proximity to Iraq and Syria. In addition, Saudi
Arabia is important because it could serve as a base for military training.