Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

Kobani devastation revealed in before and after satellite images

Syria-Turkey border town has been under attack by Isis militants for weeks

Heather Saul
Wednesday 22 October 2014 16:50 BST
An explosion rocks the Syrian city of Kobani during a reported suicide car bomb attack by Isis on Monday (Getty)
An explosion rocks the Syrian city of Kobani during a reported suicide car bomb attack by Isis on Monday (Getty) (Getty)

Before and after satellite images have revealed the true extent of devastation in Kobani, where hundreds of thousands have fled fighting between Isis and those defending the town.

For over a month, Kobani has been at the heart of the struggle between Isis fighters and Kurdish defenders, who are battling to stop the region from falling into the hands of militants.

Isis launched their first attack on the Syria-Turkey border town in September and have encircled the city, leaving only a small corridor for residents to escape.

Capturing Kobani, also known under its Arabic name of Ayn Arab, would give Isis a direct link between its positions in the Syrian province of Aleppo and its stronghold of Raqqa, to the east.

Isis still surrounds the town and holds parts of it despite Kurdish resistance on the ground and repeated US-led coalition strikes from the air. The constant fighting has left buildings and homes destroyed by a combination of strikes and street fighting, leaving thousands displaced.

Fatma Muslim, one of the estimated 200,000 people forced to flee her home in Kobani and surrounding villages, told The Associated Press her house had been “demolished” as the battle raged. “We are living in tents”, she said.

Some of the satellite images released by the UN’s Institute for Training and Research (Unitar) this week depict a large refugee camp built within weeks of fighting on the Turkish side of the border, just kilometres away from fighting.

A refugee camp set up on the Turkish side of the border with Syria is seen on 15 October (Digital Globe)

Another shows hundreds of cars abandoned on the Syrian side of the border around a crossing point into Turkey. Many were forced to leave without being able to take any belongings across the border.

The Syrian border pictured on 6 September (L) and 15 October (R) (DigitalGlobe) (Digital Globe)

One picture shows buildings reduced to rubble and clouded by black smoke. It is not known if air strikes, fighting or an attack by Isis militants was responsible for damage seen in that picture.

Kobani on 6 September (L) and 15 October (R) (Digital Globe)

The images come as Isis militants released a video they claim shows US weapons intended for Kurdish fighters accidentally air dropped into their hands near the area.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in