Kobanî massacre

Coordinates: 36°53′23″N 38°21′20″E / 36.8897°N 38.3556°E / 36.8897; 38.3556
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Kobanî massacre
Part of the Syrian civil war,
the Syrian Kurdish–Islamist conflict (2013–present),
the American-led intervention in Syria,
and the 26 June 2015 Islamist attacks

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


Supported by:

Islamic State Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
Commanders and leaders
Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria Salih Muslim[3] Abu Ali al-Anbari
(Deputy, Syria)
Units involved

ISIL Armed Forces

Unknown 80–100 militants[2]
Casualties and losses
35–37 killed[4] 79–92 killed (12 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-majority city of Kobanî, beginning on Thursday, 25 June 2015, and culminating on Friday, 26 June 2015.[6][7][8] The attacks continued into 28 June 2015, 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]


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.

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]

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.

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.


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]

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]


 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]

 Turkey – according to CNN Türk, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan 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[edit]


  1. ^ "Operation Inherent Resolve Strike Updates". United States Department of Defense. June 26, 2015. Archived from the original on January 28, 2015. Retrieved June 27, 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "SYRIA and IRAQ NEWS". Peter Clifford Online. Archived from the original on 18 December 2014. Retrieved 30 June 2015.
  3. ^ Paula Astih (November 7, 2014). "Kurdish PYD leaders says Peshmerga "effective" in Kobanê fight". Asharq al-Awsat. Archived from the original on January 28, 2015. Retrieved June 30, 2015.
  4. ^ a b c IS fighters stage surprise attack on key Syrian border town
  5. ^ a b c d e "79 IS killed in Ein al-Arab"Kobane", and an Egyptian captive reveals the mission details". SOHR. Retrieved 28 June 2015.
  6. ^ "Pro-Kurdish party says Kobani 'massacre' reflects Turkish support for ISIL". euronews. 26 June 2015. Retrieved 30 June 2015.
  7. ^ "Islamic State kills at least 145 civilians in Syria's Kobani". Reuters. 26 June 2015. Retrieved 30 June 2015.
  8. ^ "Kobani 'massacre' reflects Turkish support for ISIS: Pro-Kurd party". The Daily Star Newspaper - Lebanon. Retrieved 30 June 2015.
  9. ^ CNN Staff (26 June 2015). "Rights group: ISIS attack on Kobani is 'second largest' - CNN.com". CNN. Retrieved 30 June 2015. {{cite web}}: |author= has generic name (help)
  10. ^ "More Kurdish Cities Liberated As Syrian Army Withdraws from Area". Rudaw. 20 July 2012.
  11. ^ "NATO's Secret Kurdish War: Turkey Prepares Iraq-Style Attacks Inside Syria – OpEd – Eurasia Review". 3 August 2012. Retrieved 29 October 2014.
  12. ^ "What's happening in Kobane?". Kurdish Question. 6 July 2014. Archived from the original on 7 January 2015.
  13. ^ a b Letsch, Constanze (22 September 2014). "Isis onslaught against Kurds in Syria brings 'man-made disaster' into Turkey". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 October 2014.
  14. ^ a b IPD Group. "ISIL seizes 21 Kurdish villages in northern Syria, close in on Kobanî – World News Report". Archived from the original on 13 July 2018. Retrieved 29 October 2014.
  15. ^ "Kurds drive Islamic State out of Syria's Kobani". Times of Israel. 27 June 2015. Retrieved 28 May 2021.
  16. ^ sohranas. "YPG retakes the entire city of Ayn al- Arab "Kobani" after 112 days of clashes with IS militants". Syrian Observatory For Human Rights. Archived from the original on 16 October 2015. Retrieved 30 June 2015.
  17. ^ "U.S. general says Syrian town of Kobani taken from Islamic State". Reuters. Retrieved 31 January 2015.
  18. ^ "ISIL on 24-hour 'killing rampage' in Syria's Kobane". aljazeera.com.
  19. ^ "Syria crisis: IS re-enters Kurdish-held city of Kobane". BBC. 25 June 2015. Retrieved 28 May 2021.
  20. ^ a b c d Shareen, Kareem (26 June 2015). "Kurdish forces besiege Isis fighters in Kobani after massacre of civilians". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 June 2015.
  21. ^ a b Patrick Cockburn (27 Jun 2015). "Isis in Kobani: Why we ignore the worst of the massacres". Independent Voices (opinion).
  22. ^ Westall, Sylvia (26 June 2015). "ISIS commits major massacre in Syria's Kobani: activists". Daily Star.
  23. ^ "IS 'executes 23 Kurds' in village near Syria's Kobane". Yahoo News.
  24. ^ a b "Pro-Kurdish party says Kobani 'massacre' reflects Turkey support for Islamic State". Reuters. 25 June 2015. Retrieved 30 June 2015.

External links[edit]

36°53′23″N 38°21′20″E / 36.8897°N 38.3556°E / 36.8897; 38.3556