The Kurdish Base Guards in Kobane: Were They Drunk?

On October 1 and 2, 2014, ISIS attacked the Kurds at the south border entrance to Kobane, also called Ain al Arab. There are several buildings manned by Kurdish guards who fled. The empty station is littered with liquor bottles. (None of the following videos contain graphic images or dead bodies.)

The attack by ISIS is in this video. The fighters appear to be Chechen, and for a few seconds, starting at 1 min 04 sec in, I think you can see ISIS military commander Omar al Shishani, as he talks into a radio and barks commands, which the others then repeat and relay to the other fighters.[More...]

The Kurdish guards fled as they were being shelled by ISIS. You can see them running in this video.

ISIS then gives a tour of the deserted base, which you can watch here. As mentioned earlier, the place is littered with empty and half full bottles of alcohol. Were the guards too drunk to put up a fight?

Screengrabs from the videos:

From the tour of the inside of the Kurdish base:

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  • Display: Sort:
    Geez (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat Oct 04, 2014 at 04:13:33 PM EST
    Was Guns N Roses there hanging out with them?

    Why am I supposed to care if (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Oct 04, 2014 at 04:29:59 PM EST
    Kurdish soldiers have alcohol available?

    Well, I find it interesting... (none / 0) (#4)
    by ZtoA on Sat Oct 04, 2014 at 06:30:09 PM EST
    It looked to me in the clip (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Oct 04, 2014 at 06:47:00 PM EST
    That Kurds at that outpost were outgunned.  They probably had a plan to pull back if something heavier than they had showed up and it did.  The PYG has their own propaganda campaign going on.  They show throwing dead ISIL fighters from the Kobane fighting into a mass grave, disrespecting the bodies, no ritual washing, and buried by shovel fulls of tractor dirt while people standing outside the grave throw rocks at the bodies.  They also have videos of tanks they took from ISIL in the fighting along with mortars and other weapons.  They show the passports of the dead fighters and the ID of the dead fighters in the vid I saw. I don't think this was a good day for ISIL.  They made a video, but they didn't finish the day well.  I won't link to vid because I'm not sure that that wouldn't lead to unhealthy propagandizing...but they aren't taking any crap off ISIL.

    I googled PYG (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat Oct 04, 2014 at 06:55:29 PM EST
    and got a band, a comic book character and Paraguayan currency information.

    English please.

    I also liked the drinking story.  


    If you hunt at the liveleak link (none / 0) (#7)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Oct 04, 2014 at 06:59:17 PM EST
    I put up that doesn't have violence, just the crack of gunshots and running ISIL...you should be able to find some.

    Easier if you just tell me (none / 0) (#8)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat Oct 04, 2014 at 07:00:46 PM EST
    what is PYG

    Fighters for the Democratic Union Party (none / 0) (#10)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Oct 04, 2014 at 07:03:53 PM EST
    Of Syria.  Secular, affiliated with the PKK.

    I think "PYG" is a typo... (none / 0) (#17)
    by TH71 on Sat Oct 04, 2014 at 10:15:37 PM EST
    The YPG is the People's Protection Units-- fighters from the Kurdish region of Syria.

    I have seen it both ways (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 02:47:22 AM EST
    It is a merger of PYD and the Peshmerga.

    Ah, maybe dyslexia can be (none / 0) (#18)
    by ZtoA on Sat Oct 04, 2014 at 11:30:02 PM EST
    caught over the internets.

    And give PYG a break Capt (none / 0) (#9)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Oct 04, 2014 at 07:00:47 PM EST
    They are just starting out with this propaganda thing...they are noobs at it.

    Yes (none / 0) (#11)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat Oct 04, 2014 at 07:07:53 PM EST
     not good to get a picture of a cartoon pig on googling your acronym.   Not very intimidating.

    I saw video of some of the (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Oct 04, 2014 at 07:13:22 PM EST
    Iraqi female Kurdish fighters on Vice, they seemed way too nice.  They fight Iranian thugs in their territory.  There is also the PYD.  Different factions, like there are different factions with ISIL.  They usually fight separately in their own regions but fighting ISIL together.

    Thank you for your impressions (none / 0) (#13)
    by ZtoA on Sat Oct 04, 2014 at 07:45:07 PM EST
    I could not actually watch it. Reading about it is about all I can do.

    I just talked to my husband (5.00 / 2) (#14)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Oct 04, 2014 at 07:58:19 PM EST
    And he says ISIL filmed all the bottles because it proves the Kurds are Jack Muslims, bad Muslims.  The bottle of Jack Daniels he said is worth a small fortune there.  Would only be for very special occasions.

    Being a Muslim that passes ISIL inspection doesn't seem to be a priority with the Kurds :)


    Here is a clip from Oct 2 (5.00 / 3) (#3)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Oct 04, 2014 at 04:44:32 PM EST
    Of ISIS fleeing Kurdish women fighters in the same region.  If the guards having some liquor around, maybe having a beer-like beverage the day before, led to them deciding to leave their post, then I guess it makes just as much sense that these women whipped ISIS because they are on their period.

    ISIS flees assault from vaginas

    Long interesting McClatchy piece (none / 0) (#15)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat Oct 04, 2014 at 07:59:40 PM EST
    Islamic State reportedly on Baghdad's outskirts after week of victories

    Hundreds of miles to the west, Islamic State forces continued their push into the Syrian Kurdish city of Kobane, where it appeared unlikely that Turkey would intervene to stop the advance. Kurdish officials from the town said the Turkish government had yet to respond to their pleas for weapons, and reports from the Turkish-Syrian border said there was no evidence Turkey was preparing to take action.

    Hossam, whom a McClatchy special correspondent interviewed in Baghdad, said he'd had a difficult time leaving Abu Ghraib for Baghdad to mark the Eid al Adha holiday Saturday. "I had to use a fake ID card that said I was Sunni," he said, reflecting the concern among Shiite Muslim Iraqi soldiers about the Islamic State's execution of Shiites it's captured. "Daash controls the entire area except the army bases and prisons. They're just a few (miles) from Baghdad."

    We are helping the Kurds in (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Oct 04, 2014 at 08:21:43 PM EST
    Kobane with air strikes. I think this administration thinks that Baghdad needs to deal a little with what is in its area.  They helped breed this too. ISIL won't take Baghdad, but the Shia must negotiate with the Sunni.  

    It's propaganda (none / 0) (#20)
    by toggle on Mon Oct 06, 2014 at 05:07:51 PM EST
    For all we know that video is of them shooting at fleeing civilians and the scene with the bottles was staged. If those were Kurdish fighters they must have been caught unawares or they are really desperate to be defending spots they can't retreat from.

    Also, I'm disappointed ISIS is still able to move in force, in the open. Why aren't there a dozen predator drones circling that city?

    not progaganda (none / 0) (#21)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Oct 06, 2014 at 06:35:37 PM EST
    I don't think it's propaganda or staged. it's not staged. They weren't moving in the open. There are three videos showing the leading up to the attack, the attack, and then what they found. They were led by Omar al Shisani, the Chechen military commander, and the team is Chechen. The Chechen fighters are more experienced than the ISIS newbies. According to today's reports, now that they are inside Kobane, they have posted that another team leader is a Kurdish brother and from the area.

    I don't know why you are surprised the Kurdish guards ran. The Iraqi forces just fled again in fighting ISIS in Ramadi.

    As to drones, air strikes can only do so much. They take out a tank or two, or some other vehicle, but not much more.


    Not surprised they "ran" (none / 0) (#24)
    by toggle on Mon Oct 06, 2014 at 09:38:32 PM EST
    Retreating when your position is compromised is a necessary part of warfare. What surprises me is that they literally ran, as in on foot, across low, open ground, with no covering fire.

    And air strikes can do a lot more than you think if there's the will to really use them. The civilians have fled. The Kurds are cooperative. We have satellites, surveillance drones, we could put a few guys on the ground if we had to. ISIS can't fight house to house if planes keep blowing up their houses. Those pickups and tanks (if they have them) could be wiped out in a day if there was a serious commitment on our part.

    Don't get me wrong, I was against going to war with ISIS. But here we are and we're missing a golden opportunity to kill lots of them. Terrorists are like fish -- once you've found them, they don't stand a chance. And right now, they're schooling around Kobane.


    This story suggests (none / 0) (#22)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Oct 06, 2014 at 07:56:36 PM EST
    That one reason we have not been using airstrikes to any great degree is because we don't have the intelligence on the ground.

    Why Kobane Is Not Erbil

    I tend to think that this administration is willing to allow Turkey to feel the heat of ISIL just as it is willing to allow Baghdad to feel the heat too.  If we jump in quickly to save them they will not commit to ending what they took a part in creating.

    I feel bad for the Kurds though, a female Kurdish suicide bomber killed herself taking out ISIL fighters.  Sad


    The intelligence deficit (none / 0) (#25)
    by toggle on Mon Oct 06, 2014 at 10:40:27 PM EST
    Assuming there is one, is curable. And that raises the question of why it existed in the first place given that we've been fighting ISIS for months and (should) have known we were going to, inevitably, for much longer.

    As for the Turks, certainly they don't want Syria's Kurds, but they're not going to swoop in and save a few thousand hardliners.


    Turkey is at odds with us and themselves over (none / 0) (#26)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Oct 07, 2014 at 09:29:18 AM EST
    Helping the Kurds.  Many of the Kurdish fighters are considered belonging to terrorist organizations by Turkey and also officially by the U.S.  Maliki's party in Iraq was also designated a terrorist organization by the U.S. prior to the Iraq War.  Freedom fighters or terrorists, we never seem to be able to clearly define that sometimes?

    We rely greatly on Turkey though as an ally.  Whenever my husband enters the Miidle East as a soldier, the gateway in is almost always a tarmac in Turkey.  There are probably currently big problems getting Turkey to agree to help or even use their airspace.

    I think that's the reason why Biden pointed a finger publicly at Turkey.  Publicly embarrass them for a minute, withdrawn with  apologies but it's still out there, he said it. They fed the ISIL organization too as long as ISIL kills Kurds and destabilizes the formation of a healthy stable Kurdistan region that could break away from Turkey, Iraq, and Iran.  Very similar to what Pakistan did with Afghanistan using the Taliban.


    Also, ISIL is amassing on the (none / 0) (#23)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Oct 06, 2014 at 08:02:23 PM EST
    Outskirts with their tanks.  When serious airstrikes take place, they are a fabulous target.  Lots of two for ones in that strategy.  The Kurds have paid the price though.