If the fall of Mosul was the symbol of the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant’s (ISIL) meteoric rise, the siege of Kobane is becoming a symbol of the resistance. The small Kurdish rural town on the Syrian-Turkish border came into the international spotlight not because of a strong US-coalition response or a vast pitched battle – but for the lack of it. It seems that despite the mass hysteria and sense of resolved purpose displayed by the world, foreign policy regarding humanitarian issues is hostage to national concerns.

Even though its border is being threatened, Turkey is taking no pro-active steps or allowing the US to launch sorties from its territory. It contends itself with housing refugees and providing its airbases for use by the coalition forces, only recently has it allowed Iraqi Kurds to cross its border to reach Kobane. The Kurds of Kobane are left to fend for themselves, for the precise reason that they are Kurds. The power vacuum in Syria has allowed the Kurds to establish semi autonomous states on the same model that Turkish Kurds have been demanding for years. Furthermore, the Syrian Kurds have always been sympathetic to the cause of Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), whom Ankara considers terrorists. This forced apathy has led many to claim that Turkey is letting the ISIL do its dirty work; eliminating the Kurdish thorn and quashing any hope for a “Greater Kurdistan”.

Turkey may be able to achieve its short term goals, but in the long term the policy is severely misguided. Not only would it strengthen the ISIL, the fall of Kobane would give them the control of a major road linking Aleppo to their stronghold of Raqqa. When Turkey eventually gets to combating ISIL, the task will be an uphill battle. Furthermore, Turkish apathy towards Syrian Kurds, to the extent that it allows a barbaric regime such as ISIL to have a free hand, would harden PKK’s stance, and would make future negotiations with them problematic. Turkey has to combat the greater evil, or become one itself.