The Epic Resistance of Kobane

Driving through the beautiful countryside of northern Syria, the tranquil atmosphere doesn’t reveal the slightest possibility that this is a country that is at war, or that this area was one of the front lines of that now six-year conflict just a short time ago. In fact, the thought that the most extreme of fascist organizations not long ago controlled this serene landscape seems impossible. But arriving from the east into Kobane canton, a destroyed school soon jolts one into full sobriety. A memorial in front of the remains of this center of learning pays homage to the thirteen fallen comrades of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) and Women’s Protection Units (YPJ) who perished here in the fight against barbarism. At the beginning of the battle for Kobane, these courageous young women and men held this school for an entire night of battle with the advancing forces of the so-called Islamic State before running out of ammunition. When they realized that all of their possibilities of fighting back had been exhausted, they made the decision they would never be captured alive. Instead, they huddled together, sang a revolutionary song over the radio to their comrades, and with their last grenades blew themselves up. This was the spirit of resistance that made possible the victory of the YPG and YPJ in the epic that began on that night.

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