Reality Check !

Alright, I am stumped. It is difficult coming up with content for this particular series. Lets stay true to its name- Reality Check shall we? I mean we need an occasional break from always doing crafty things-wouldn’t you agree everything in moderation?? I have decided to post an article about ISIS. I hope this does not offend anyone, but I think we all need to be a bit more aware of the threat this terriorist organization poses.

(CNN) — The key Syrian border city of Kobani will soon fall to the Islamist terror group ISIS, several senior U.S. administration officials said.

They downplayed the importance of it, saying Kobani is not a major U.S. concern.

But a look at the city shows why it would mark an important strategic victory for the Islamic mlitant group. ISIS would control a complete swath of land between its self-declared capital of Raqqa, Syria, and Turkey — a stretch of more than 100 kilometers (62 miles).

As Time.com put it, “If the ISIS militants take control of Kobani, they will have a huge strategic corridor along the Turkish border, linking with the terrorist group’s positions in Aleppo to the west and Raqqa to the east.”

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American helps Kurds fight ISIS

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Iraqi troops fight ISIS outside Baghdad

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ISIS forces enter Kobani, sources say

And Staffan de Mistura, U.N. special envoy for Syria, warned of the horrors ISIS could carry out against the people of Kobani — horrors it has carried out elsewhere. “The international community needs to defend them,” he said. “The international community cannot sustain another city falling under ISIS.”

ISIS truck bomb in central Kobani

A truck bomb driven by ISIS exploded near the center of Kobani Wednesday,

Two civilians and a fighter inside the city described it as huge. The target was a security forces building, they said.

Kurdish official Idriss Nassan told CNN the truck did not reach its intended target, and detonated early.

Coalition batters ISIS positions with airstrikes

A U.S.-led coalition has been pounding ISIS positions in the region with airstrikes for a few weeks.

At least 45 ISIS fighters have been killed in the strikes, though the number may be much higher, according to the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which gets information from sources on the ground.

The latest strikes, late Tuesday into Wednesday, included nine in Syria, the U.S. military said. Six were in the Kobani area, destroying an ISIS armored personnel carrier, four armed vehicles and two artillery pieces, U.S. Central Command said. U.S. and coalition forces also conducted five airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq, the military said.

The primary goal of the aerial campaign is not to save Syrian cities and towns, the U.S. officials said. Rather, the aim is to go after ISIS’ senior leadership, oil refineries and other infrastructure that would curb the terror group’s ability to operate — particularly in Iraq.

Saving Iraq is a more strategic goal for several reasons, the officials said. First, the United States has a relationship with the Iraqi government. By contrast, the Obama administration wants Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down.

Another reason: The United States has partners on the ground in Iraq, including Iraqi forces and Kurdish fighters known as Peshmerga.

Local fighters apparently made some headway Wednesday morning, when some ISIS militants in Kobani were pushed back to the city’s perimeter, Kurdish official Idriss Nassan said.

The battles have been bloody. More than 400 people have been killed in the fight for Kobani since mid-September, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. The opposition group said it has documented the deaths of 219 ISIS jihadists, 163 members of the Kurdish militia and 20 civilians.

Map: Kobani (Ayn al-Arab)
Map: Kobani (Ayn al-Arab)

U.S. plan against ISIS: Iraq first, then Syria

The United States’ goal is to first beat back ISIS in Iraq, then eliminate some of its leadership and resources in Syria, the U.S. administration officials said.

If all goes as planned, by the time officials turn their attention to Syria, some of the Syrian opposition will be trained well enough to tackle ISIS in earnest.

Washington has been making efforts to arm and train moderate Syrian opposition forces who are locked in a fight against both ISIS and the al-Assad regime.

Training Syrian rebels could take quite a long time.

“It could take years, actually,” retired Gen. John Allen said last week. “Expectations need to be managed.”

The United States also wants Turkey to do more, the officials said. The administration is urging Turkey to at least fire artillery at ISIS targets across the border.

But the Turkish reluctance, the officials say, is wrapped up in the complex relationship with their own Kurds and the idea that they don’t want to help any of the Kurds in any way.

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Why is Kobani so important to ISIS?

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Kurds battle ISIS in key border town

Hundreds of strikes, millions of dollars

The United States and its allies have made at least 271 airstrikes in Iraq and 116 in Syria.

The cost? More than $62 million for just the munitions alone.

The effect? Negligible, some say, particularly in Iraq.

One by one, the cities have fallen to ISIS like dominoes: Hit, Albu Aytha, Kubaisya, Saqlawia and Sejal.

And standing on the western outskirts of Baghdad, ISIS is now within sight.

“That’s DAIISH right over there,” said Iraqi Brig. Gen. Ali Abdel Hussain Kazim, using the Arabic acronym for ISIS.

The militants’ proximity to the capital is cause for concern. If the terror group manages to infiltrate and launch attacks in Baghdad or its green zone, the results could be disastrous.

Kazim said ISIS has not been able to move from eastern Anbar province to Baghdad. But another brigadier general said that’s not even the biggest threat.

The real danger to the Iraqi capital, Brig. Gen. Mohamed al-Askari said, is from ISIS sympathizers in the city.

“They are a gang,” he said. “They deploy among civilians. They disappear into the civilian population and camouflage themselves.”

CNN’s Ben Wedeman, Arwa Damon, Mohammed Tawfeeq and Jim Sciutto contributed to this report.

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