DIYARBAKIR, Turkey — First Kobani, then Tell Abyad. The two Syrian towns along the Turkish border came under the international spotlight amid monthslong clashes between Kurdish forces and the Islamic State (IS). The People’s Protection Units (YPG) triumphed in both battles, breaking the IS siege of Kobani in January and seizing Tell Abyad earlier this month. Though the two adversaries are poles apart ideologically, they have something in common — their Kurdish fighters. A considerable number of Kurds, most of them from Turkey, have joined the ranks of IS in Syria and Iraq.
The impoverished province of Bingol, home to some 267,000 people, has emerged as a major IS recruitment base in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast. Official figures are not available, but locals estimate at least 600 young men have joined the jihadist group, lured through religious indoctrination and various promises, including money and marriage.