VIDEO: Kurdish Reporter Blasts State Dept’s Jen Psaki Over ISIS Siege of Kobani
An ISIS flag flies on a building on the eastern side of Kobani (Kobane), Syria.
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) raised on Monday its black Islamic flags on a building on the eastern side of Kobane, Syria. The ISIS militants have been fighting Kurdish forces for three weeks before entering Kobane today.
The Obama administration sat back as Kobane came under siege. Over 100,000 Kurds have fled the area in the past three weeks.
On Monday a Kurdish reported blasted State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki on Obama’s failing strategy to defeat ISIS.
Via Rudaw News:
The State Department posted the transcript.
QUESTION: My question is about the advance of ISIS towards Kobani. My – this question might be more for your colleagues at the Pentagon, but it’s related to the broader Obama strategy.
MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.
QUESTION: Over the past 24 hours, we’ve seen only one strike, according to the Central Command, around Kobani. I don’t really understand why there hasn’t been more attacks while large numbers of ISIS fighters are closing in on Kobani. And according to CNN and some other American media reports, they have raised the American flag – the – sorry, Islamic flag over some buildings inside Kobani. Why hasn’t been there more strikes?
MS. PSAKI: Well, I know we have this exchange kind of every single day, which is absolutely fine, but you’re talking about one strike in the last 24 hours. That was the update, you’re right, that came from CENTCOM. There were – that strike destroyed two ISIL fighting positions south of Kobani. Other recent strikes have hit two modular oil refineries, an ISIL training camp, an ISIL-occupied building. So this is an ongoing effort.
QUESTION: They’re not around Kobani, those refineries.
MS. PSAKI: It’s an ongoing effort around – in the same part of the country. I would refer you to DOD for more about their military strategy, but obviously this is something where we’ve long said from the beginning that this would take some time. We’re working closely to do everything we can to help push back ISIL in this part of the country, but again, I don’t have any other military updates from here.
QUESTION: When I talked to – on a daily basis I talk to Kurdish people, Kurdish rebels even, Kurdish politicians on the ground in Syria. They have a different perspective. They say, well, Turkey is now trying to do America’s bid in the country when it comes to ISIS attacks on Kobani, and Turkey yesterday invited Salih Muslim, who is the leader of the Kurdish party, to reach some sort of deal with Turkish intelligence. So are you waiting for Turkey to reach a deal with the Kurdish rebels? That’s why you’re not —
MS. PSAKI: I think we haven’t – clearly we haven’t held back from our own military airstrikes in this regard. There are a range of other countries who have also participated in the last couple of days in strikes in Syria. I don’t have any other update for you.
QUESTION: Just one more thing, Jen. It’s clearly, like, obvious that – I mean, President Obama on the eve of 9/11 said the strategy was to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIS. We’ve seen ISIS been degraded in Iraq, but we’ve seen ISIS advancing in Syria. Can we say there are flaws in President Obama’s strategy?
MS. PSAKI: I would not say that. You’re right that the Iraqi Security Forces have certainly pushed back and they have been able to hold and even regain some areas. The efforts that have been underway in Syria have been not – have not been happening as long. I think DOD has addressed some of our strategy, so let me reiterate some of what they’ve said – that the initial round of strikes in Syria had fixed targets, such as command and control nodes, finance centers, training camps and oil refineries. Those kind of strikes will continue. Targeting in Syria is also evolving beyond fixed facilities and also includes more dynamic targeting of a tactical nature, such as vehicles, armored vehicles, convoys.
So obviously there’s certainly a strategy that’s being implemented by our Defense Department.
Turkish President Erdogan said today airstrikes alone cannot defeat ISIS.
Turkey’s president said Kobani was “about to fall” after Islamic State fighters advanced into the south west of the Syrian Kurdish town, pressing home a three-week assault has cost a reported 400 lives.
The prospect that the town on the Turkish border could be captured by the militants has increased pressure on Turkey, with the strongest army in the region, to join an international coalition to fight against Islamic State.
Islamic State wants to take Kobani in order to strengthen its grip on the border area and consolidate the territorial gains it has made in Iraq and Syria in recent months. U.S.-led air strikes have so far failed to prevent its advance on Kobani.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said bombing was not enough to defeat Islamic State and Turkey had made clear that additional measures would be needed.
“The problem of ISIS (Islamic State) … cannot be solved via air bombardment. Right now … Kobani is about to fall,” he said during a visit to a camp for Syrian refugees.