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Watching Kobani

The writer gives a personal account of his trip on Nov. 15-16 to Suruc, across from Kobani on the Turkish side of the border, and relates how locals believe that the Kobani battle may bring an end to the Islamic State in military terms.
Kurdish refugees watch from a hilltop as thick smoke rises from the Syrian town of Kobani during heavy fighting between Islamic State and Kurdish Peshmerga forces, seen from near the Mursitpinar border crossing on the Turkish-Syrian border in the southeastern town of Suruc in Sanliurfa province October 26, 2014.  REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis (TURKEY - Tags: MILITARY CONFLICT POLITICS CIVIL UNREST) - RTR4BNM6
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SURUC, Turkey — I spent time Nov. 15-16 close to the besieged Syrian Kurdish town of Kobani, located within half an hour's drive from Turkey’s historical provincial capital Urfa. Suruc, the twin Kurdish town on the Turkish side of the border, is about 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) across a flat and fertile plain that was built on a hill overlooking the plain.

About 8 p.m. Nov. 15, I witness vehicles moving toward Kobani from Suruc being stopped and diverted by Turkish security forces. Turning left, my young Kurdish guide from Kobani and I reach a small village called Caykara in Turkish and Mehser in Kurdish. At the village's entrance, we see a makeshift parking lot full of cars with license plates from Turkey’s heavily Kurdish-populated provinces as well as from Ankara and Istanbul.

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