By Mick Krever, CNN
The fall of the Syrian city of Kobani to ISIS militants would put the security of the whole region at risk, Syrian Kurdish leader Saleh Moslem Mohamed told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Thursday.
“This brutal organization called Da’esh, or ISIS, they don’t know the border,” he said. “They were in Mosul, against the Kurds, they were in Sinjar, and now they are in Kobani. So what’s the next step?”
If the Kurds in Kobani are defeated, “I don’t want to think of it even, because…it means the victory of ISIS, which ISIS at that time could go to Istanbul…could go to anywhere.”
“We are going step by step to another genocide or maybe massacre, because those people are refusing to give up, insisting on defending their land and defending their homes and defending their dignity.”
The U.S. military, which struck ISIS targets around Kobani overnight, has openly said that airstrikes “are not going to save” the city from falling to the militants.
The city lies directly on the Turkish border. Though the Turkish Prime Minister told Amanpour that the people in Kobani are like “brothers and sisters,” his country has not intervened to protect them.
Turkey has, as a condition of its involvement in the fight, made clear that the U.S. and its partners must go after Assad in Syria, not just ISIS.
“I think the priority is now to help – to save the lives,” Moslem said. “I mean, nobody should…put any conditions before saving the lives.”
“And those people [in Kobani], they were fighting against Assad since 2004. And we are one of them. So we know the situation. It’s just an excuse not to do anything.”
He said that he was just in Turkey the previous week, and asked for assistance.
“They cannot say anything. They said, ‘Well we are, we don’t like Kobani to fall and we will just be beside Kobani and we will do everything for Kobani people.’ But actually, they haven’t done any till now.”
He said that it is difficult to know how many civilians are still in Kobani because many are hunkering down indoors, but said there are at least 10,000 still in the city.