After more than three months of continuous fighting, Kurdish forces have managed to force IS militants out and take control of Kobani – a Kurd majority town in Syria bordering Turkey. IS had stormed into the town with heavy artillery on September 16, and subsequently released several propaganda videos based on the capture of Kobani. Although the terrorist group was unable to establish complete control over the town, it continued to control a large portion before being driven out by Kurdish forces on January 26.

The international coalition assisted Kurdish fighters by providing weapons and ammunition and conducting airstrikes against IS. Islamic State’s takeover of Kobani had lead to the displacement of 200,000 residents, who have found refuge in Turkey. They came out on the streets and celebrated after hearing the news of victory in Kobani, which may be premature considering several villages surrounding the town are still controlled by IS. It is also unlikely that they will be able to return home soon. The fighting has taken a serious toll on Kobani as much of the infrastructure and residences have been reduced to rubble. The town is in no state to welcome and accommodate its displaced people. Regardless, the victory has served to raise the morale of Kurds and the international coalition.

IS has responded to the setback by escalating attacks against Kurdish peshmerga and affiliated forces, most notably around the oil-rich city of Kirkut. During one of the attacks, IS managed to kill the senior most Kurdish commander in the area, Brigadier Sherko Fatih. Although the Kurdish forces have been successful in repelling advances from IS militants, they find themselves engaged on multiple fronts, which will make it more difficult for them to focus on Kobani or advance further towards Mosul. IS still controls large parts of territory in both Iraq and Syria, is well-equipped and continues to generate millions of dollars to sustain its operations. The battle in Kobani may have been won, but the war is far from over.