Kobanî massacre

Last updated
Kobanî massacre
Part of the Syrian Civil War,
Syrian Kurdish–Islamist conflict (2013–present),
the American-led intervention in Syria,
and 2015 Ramadan attacks
Rojava Kurdisch kontrollierte Gebiete.jpg
Territories controlled by the YPG, ISIL, the Syrian Army, Free Syrian Army, or contested in northern Syria, as of late June 2015
Date25–29 June 2015
(4 days)

YPG-led forces kill all ISIL militants

  • ISIL massacres 233 civilians in Kobanê and in the village of Barkh Butan

Flag of Rojava.svg  Syrian Kurdistan

Supported by:

Seal of Combined Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve.svg CJTF–OIR [1] [2]
AQMI Flag asymmetric.svg Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
Commanders and leaders
Flag of Rojava.svg Salih Muslim Muhammad [3] AQMI Flag asymmetric.svg Abu Ali al-Anbari
(Deputy, Syria)
Units involved

AQMI Flag asymmetric.svg ISIL Armed Forces

Unknown 80–100 militants [2]
Casualties and losses
35–37 killed [4] 79–92 killed (13 suicide bombers), 1 captured [2] [5]
223–233 civilians killed [4] and 300+ injured [5]

The Kobanî massacre was a combination of suicide missions and attacks on Kurdish civilians by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant on the Kurdish-held city of Kobanî, beginning on Thursday, 25 June, and culminating on Friday, 26 June 2015. [6] [7] [8] The attacks continued into 28 June, with the last remaining ISIL militant being killed on the following day. The attacks resulted in 223–233 civilians dead, as well as 35–37 Kurdish militiamen [4] and at least 79 ISIL assailants. [5] It was the second-largest massacre committed by ISIL since it declared a caliphate in June 2014. [9]

Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant Salafi jihadist terrorist and militant group

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, officially as the Islamic State (IS) and by its Arabic language acronym Daesh, is a Salafi jihadist militant group and former unrecognised proto-state that follows a fundamentalist, Salafi doctrine of Sunni Islam. ISIL gained global prominence in early 2014 when it drove Iraqi government forces out of key cities in its Western Iraq offensive, followed by its capture of Mosul and the Sinjar massacre.

Kobanî City and nahiyah in Aleppo, Syria

Kobanî, officially Ayn al-Arab, is a city in the Aleppo Governorate in northern Syria, lying immediately south of the border with Turkey. As a consequence of the Syrian Civil War, the city has been under control of the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) militia since 2012. In 2014, it was declared to be the administrative center of the Kobanî Canton of the de facto autonomous Rojava, which later became the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria.

Massacre incident where some group is killed by another

A massacre is a killing, typically of multiple victims, considered morally unacceptable, especially when perpetrated by a group of political actors against defenseless victims. The word is a loan of a French term for "butchery" or "carnage".



The People's Protection Units (YPG) captured Kobanê on 19 July 2012. [10] Since July 2012, Kobanê has been under Kurdish control, while the YPG and Kurdish politicians anticipate autonomy for the area, which they consider part of Rojava. [11] After similar less intense events earlier in 2014, on 2 July the town and surrounding villages came under a massive attack from fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. [12] On 16 September, ISIL resumed its siege of Kobanê with a full-scale assault from the west and the south of the city.

Peoples Protection Units mainly-Kurdish militia in Syria

The People's Protection Units or People's Defense Units is a mainly-Kurdish militia in Syria and the primary component of the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria's Syrian Democratic Forces. The YPG is mostly ethnically Kurdish, and also includes Arabs, foreign volunteers, and is closely allied to the Syriac Military Council, a militia of Assyrians.

The Kobanî Canton was attacked by ISIL militants for several months. In September 2014, ISIL militants occupied most of Kobanî Canton, seizing more than 100 Kurdish villages. [13] [14] As a consequence of the ISIL occupation, up to 200,000 Kurdish refugees fled from Kobanî Canton to Turkey. [13]

Kurds ethnic group in the Middle East

Kurds or the Kurdish people are an Iranian ethnic group of Western Asia, mostly inhabiting a contiguous area known as Kurdistan. Geographically, those four adjacent and often-mountainous areas include southeastern Turkey, northwestern Iran, northern Iraq, and northern Syria. There are also exclaves of Kurds in central Anatolia and Khorasan. Additionally, there are significant Kurdish diaspora communities in the cities of western Turkey, in particular Istanbul, while a Kurdish diaspora has developed in Western Europe, primarily in Germany. Numerically, the Kurds are estimated to number anywhere from a low of 30 million, to possibly as high as 45 million.

In the captured villages, ISIL militants committed massacres and kidnapped women. [14] ISIL militants, however, were not able to occupy the entire canton, as the YPG and YPJ forces managed to defend the city of Kobanî and a few nearby settlements. After a few weeks of "neutrality", the US-led coalition began to target ISIL forces in Kobanî with a larger number of airstrikes, beginning on 5 October 2014. This move aided the YPG/YPJ in forcing ISIL to retreat from numerous parts of the city. The YPG reportedly forced ISIL to retreat from most of Kobanî on 26 January 2015, [15] thus lifting the siege. [16] On 27 January 2015, YPG-led fighters had retaken the entire city of Kobanî. [17] Since then, the city was under YPG control.

Kidnapping taking away or transportation of a person against that persons will

In criminal law, kidnapping is the unlawful carrying away (asportation) and confinement of a person against their will. Thus, it is a composite crime. It can also be defined as false imprisonment by means of abduction, both of which are separate crimes that when committed simultaneously upon the same person merge as the single crime of kidnapping. The asportation/abduction element is typically but not necessarily conducted by means of force or fear. That is, the perpetrator may use a weapon to force the victim into a vehicle, but it is still kidnapping if the victim is enticed to enter the vehicle willingly, e.g., in the belief it is a taxicab.

Womens Protection Units all-female military organization

The Women's Protection Units or Women's Defense Units is an all-female militia actively fighting in Northern Syria. The YPJ is one of the main two armed forces in Rojava, the other being the People's Protection Units militia, which includes both men and women. While the YPJ, and the YPG in general, is mainly associated with Kurds, the organization also includes other ethnoreligious groups of Northern Syria.

During May and June 2015, the YPG, FSA, and allied forces captured huge swaths of territory in northern Syria, taking territory across the western Al-Hasakah province and the Tell Abyad region, linking the Kurdish Jazira and Kobanî Cantons.

Al-Hasakah Governorate Governorate in Syria

Al-Hasakah Governorate is one of the fourteen governorates (provinces) of Syria. It is located in the far north-east corner of Syria and distinguished by its fertile lands, plentiful water, natural environment, and more than one hundred archaeological sites. It was formerly known as Al-Jazira Province. Prior to the Syrian Civil War nearly half of Syria's oil was extracted from the region.

Tell Abyad District District in Raqqa, Syria

Tell Abyad District is a district of the Raqqa Governorate in northern Syria. Administrative centre is the city of Tell Abyad.


The attack began on 25 June 2015, when fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant detonated three car bombs in Kobanî, close to the Turkish border crossing. [18] Kurdish forces and the Syrian government claimed the vehicles had entered the city from across the Turkish side of the border, an action denied by Turkey. [19] An estimated force of 80–100 ISIL militants carried out the attack. [2] ISIL fighters in five vehicles entered Kobani under cover of darkness in the early hours of Thursday, June 25, disguised themselves as Kurdish security forces, [20] before infiltrating the city and shooting civilians with assault rifles and RPGs. [21] [22]

Car bomb improvised explosive device

A car bomb, lorry bomb, or truck bomb, also known as a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED), is an improvised explosive device placed inside a car or other vehicle and detonated.

ISIL also committed a massacre in the village of Barkh Butan, about 20 kilometres south of Kobanî, executing at least 23 Syrian Kurds, among them women and children. [23] A Kurdish spokesman told the media on the next day that the militants were still pinned in three locations in the city of Kobani, including a field hospital. [20] More than 100 hostages were reported being held by ISIL fighters or were trapped due to the crossfire. [20]

The battle in Kobanî city continued to rage for another 3 days, during which most of the ISIL attackers were killed, with 1 militant captured by the YPG, [5] and only 7 escaping to Turkey. [2]

During the afternoon of 29 June, the last remaining ISIL militant in Kobanî city was shot and killed. [2]


Over 164 people were initially reported dead and 200 injured, making the attack one of the largest killings of civilians in the North of Syria. [21] The final death toll of the attack was 223+ civilians, with over 300 injured. [5]


Flag of Rojava.svg  Rojava – Redur Xelil, the spokesman of the People's Protection Units (YPG), said that "Daesh (Isis) is carrying out a collective suicide attack, not to control Kobani or occupy it, but to kill the largest possible number of civilians". [20]

Flag of Turkey.svg  Turkey – according to CNN Turk news channel, Erdogan told a business group at a Ramadan-fast-breaking dinner that "No one has the right to portray Turkey as being on the same line as terrorism... after these reprehensible attacks, we see that circles close to the separatist organization, in other words, the political party, have undertaken a slanderous defamation campaign that knows no principles, morality nor bounds that targets our nation," referring to the HDP accusations. [24]

See also

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Coordinates: 36°53′23″N38°21′20″E / 36.8897°N 38.3556°E / 36.8897; 38.3556