Ayn al-Arab

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`Ayn al-`Arab
`Ayn al-`Arab is located in Syria
`Ayn al-`Arab
`Ayn al-`Arab
Location in Syria
Coordinates: 36°53′24″N 38°22′12″E / 36.89000°N 38.37000°E / 36.89000; 38.37000
Country  Syria
Governorate Aleppo
District Ayn al-Arab
Subdistrict Ayn al-Arab
Elevation 520 m (1,710 ft)
 • Total 54,681
 • Religions Sunni Islam, Syriac Christianity
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
 • Summer (DST) +3 (UTC)

Ayn al-Arab (Arabic: عين العرب‎, ALA-LC: ‘Ayn al-‘Arab; Kurdish: Kobanê) is a city in northern Syria, administratively part of the Aleppo Governorate. It is inhabited by Kurds, Arabs, Turkmen, and Armenians according to a 2013 estimate.[1] According to the Syria Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), Ayn al-Arab had a population of 44,821 in the 2004 census.[2]


According to Syrian Kurdish politician Salih Muslim Muhammad, who hails from the city, 'Ayn al-Arab began as a simple train station built in 1912 along the Baghdad Railway; the Kurdish name for the city, Kobanê, is said to derive from the name of a German company that worked on the railway's construction. Armenian refugees fleeing genocide in Anatolia founded a village next to the train station in 1915, and were soon joined by Kurds from nearby areas. After demarcation of the border with Turkey along the railway line in 1921, part of the town was left on the other side of the border, today incorporated in the Suruç district as Mürşitpınar and there is an eponymous border crossing. By the middle of the 20th century, there were three Armenian churches in the town, but most of the Armenian population emigrated to the Soviet Union in the 1960s.[3] The city's infrastructural layout was largely planned and constructed by French authorities during the Mandatory period, and a number of French-built buildings are still standing and in use today.[1]

Syrian civil war[edit]

The Popular Protection Units (YPG) captured Ayn al-Arab on 19 July 2012.[4] Since July 2012, Ayn al-Arab has been under Kurdish control, while the YPG and Kurdish politicians await an autonomy for the area they consider part of Syrian Kurdistan.[5][6] After similar less intense events earlier in 2014, on July 2 the town and surrounding villages came under a massive attack from fighters of the Islamic State.[7] As of August 2014, it is still under control of the Kurds.


  1. ^ a b "The Second Report: Ayn al-Arab/Kobani, Etana Billetin-First issue". Etana Files. 1 December 2013. Retrieved 28 April 2014. 
  2. ^ General Census of Population and Housing 2004. Syria Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS). Aleppo Governorate. (Arabic)
  3. ^ Cheterian, Vikin; Sami-Joe Abboud (Trans.) (2 October 2013). "Kurdish Leader Denies Syrian Kurds Seek Secession". Al Monitor. Retrieved 28 April 2014.  Originally published in Arabic by Al-Hayat as أكراد سورية لا يريدون الانفصال نحارب النظام و«النصرة» ونخشى مجازر on 28 September 2013.
  4. ^ "More Kurdish Cities Liberated As Syrian Army Withdraws from Area". Rudaw. 20 July 2012. 
  5. ^ http://www.eurasiareview.com/03082012-natos-secret-kurdish-war-turkey-prepares-iraq-style-attacks-inside-syria-oped/
  6. ^ "Liberated Kurdish Cities in Syria Move into Next Phase". Rudaw. 25 July 2012. 
  7. ^ "What's happening in Kobane?". Kurdish Question. 6 July 2014. 

Coordinates: 36°53′24″N 38°22′12″E / 36.89000°N 38.37000°E / 36.89000; 38.37000