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IS Militant In Kobani Issues Plea For Prayer

Smoke rises over an eastern Kobani neighborhood damaged by fighting between Islamic State militants and Kurdish forces on November 18.

Smoke rises over an eastern Kobani neighborhood damaged by fighting between Islamic State militants and Kurdish forces on November 18.

Amid reports that Kurdish militia fighters in Kobani are making gains against Islamic State (IS) forces, a Chechen militant fighting in the northern Syrian city has issued a plea for support and prayer from IS supporters.

Kurdish fighters on November 18 reportedly seized six buildings used by IS militants in Kobani, and captured a large number of IS weapons and ammunition, Reuters reported, citing the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR).

According to Rami Abdulrahman, who runs SOHR, the buildings were in a "strategic location close to Kobani's Security Square, where the main municipal buildings are based".

The report came after Idris Nassan, a Kurdish official in Kobani, claimed that the Kurds had made "big progress in the east and southeast" of Kobani, and that IS now controls less than 20 percent of the town.

While it is not possible to verify these reports, signs that IS is experiencing difficulties in Kobani are apparent in the tone of social-media postings made by the group in recent days.

While past postings spoke of victory and posted gloating accounts of plans to save the Kurdish people from communism and atheism, an account made via social media late on November 18 by an IS militant known as Adam al-Almani paints a very different picture of IS militants under heavy fire and air strikes.

"Brothers and sisters, I will try to be brief, for you this will be just a text, but for us they are fully experienced feelings, you read this on the screen, and we are going through this in real life, you get tired after 10 minutes of praying...but we do not rest, you're all comfortable in a soft bed, and we are anxious under a rain of missiles.

"You will not understand the feeling when the sky is torn up from drones, and the earth is bursting from what is falling on it.

"You do not understand the feeling when you lie, hoping to sleep an hour before your next turn guarding the front, and there are bombs falling and fragments of the ceiling drop on you, when you do not know which of the walls will fall on you in the next few minutes, or even worse, the roof.

"When brothers are killed in front of you, yes, yes, we have seen all that in the movies, but few have experienced it, when you know there is no turning back, that hell is behind you and ahead of you are trials."

Almani goes on to ask readers to pray for him and his fellow IS militants.

While it is too early to tell whether the tide of the battle has turned against IS militants in Kobani, the latest reports suggest that, at the very least, the battle is not going as well as IS would like.

-- Joanna Paraszczuk

About This Blog

"Under The Black Flag" provides news, opinion, and analysis about the impact of the Islamic State (IS) extremist group in Syria, Iraq, and beyond. It focuses not only on the fight against terrorist groups in the Middle East, but also on the implications for the region and the world. The blog's primary author, James Miller, closely covered the first three years of the Arab Spring, with a focus on Syria, and is now the managing editor of The Interpreter, where he covers Russia's foreign and domestic policy and the Kremlin's wars in Syria and Ukraine. Follow him on Twitter: @Millermena


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