New ISIS video released and the battle for Kobani


NEW YORK (CNN) – This new ISIS propaganda video shows what the terror group claims are its fighters battling for control of the Syrian border town, against Kurdish forces.

ISIS recently used a British hostage, John Cantlie, to make a false claim about its control of Kobani.  “The battle for Kobani is coming to an end. The Mujahideen are just mopping up now,” said Cantlie.

In reality, analysts say, ISIS is losing likely controls less than 50 percent of Kobani.  CNN’s Nick Paton Walsh recently traveled inside Kobani and captured these scenes.

But a key question: After three-months of airstrikes by the U.S. and its allies, why hasn’t ISIS been driven completely out of Kobani?

(Douglas Ollivant, New America Foundation said, “The problem is the airstrikes came too late. This allowed the Islamic state to get inside the city once you get fighters inside a city, then it’s very hard for air power to dig them out. They can hide. Even if the building doesn’t provide any protection, it provides concealment.”

A pentagon official tells CNN: The airstrikes have limited the ability of ISIS to move around Kobani.  The official says ISIS tanks and other vehicles can no longer roam free and warns: It’s too soon to judge the military strategy.

ISIS’s propaganda campaign isn’t slowing down.  In another new video, ‘ISIS’ shows what it claims are Iraqi soldiers, deserting their positions, running away from ‘ISIS’ forces.

A narrator says, in English, the Iraqis are “fleeing like the cowards they are”.  And there are new still-photos published by an ‘ISIS’ twitter account showing what it claims are ‘ISIS’ militants on a rooftop in a self-proclaimed ISIS “province”.

‘ISIS’ claims they are throwing a gay man off the rooftop, then stoning him.  Analysts say these images are part of the group’s battle plan.

Aki Peritz, former CIA officer said, “If they don’t turn out videos like this, that have some sort of kick to them, people are going to start saying, maybe they’re on their back heels, maybe they’re not as tough as they said they were going to be.”

For ISIS and the U.S. led allies Kobani is the center of it all.  Kobani has become the most important battlefield in this war tactically and symbolically.

If the allies win there it’s seen as a major setback for ISIS, a huge turning point.  But if ‘ISIS’ wins in Kobani, it shows the U.S. can’t help its allies, the coalition isn’t as powerful as it seems and ISIS gains control of an entire stretch of Syria’s border with Turkey.

So now both sides are all-in in Kobani.

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