Since Sept. 15, we, the people of the Syrian town of Kobani, have been fighting, outnumbered and outgunned, against an all-out assault by the army of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS.
Yet despite a campaign that has intensified in the past month, including the deployment of United States-made tanks and armored vehicles, the Islamic State has not been able to break the resistance of Kobani’s fighters.
We are defending a democratic, secular society of Kurds, Arabs, Muslims and Christians who all face an imminent massacre.
Kobani’s resistance has mobilized our entire society, and many of its leaders, including myself, are women. Those of us on the front lines are well aware of the Islamic State’s treatment of women. We expect women around the world to help us, because we are fighting for the rights of women everywhere. We do not expect them to come to join our fight here (though we would be proud if any did). But we do ask women to promote our case and to raise awareness of our situation in their own countries, and to pressure their governments to help us.
We are thankful to the coalition for its intensified airstrikes against Islamic State positions, which have been instrumental in limiting the ability of our enemies to use tanks and heavy artillery. But we had been fighting without any logistical assistance from the outside world until the limited coalition airdrops of weapons and supplies on Oct. 20. Airdrops of supplies should continue, so that we do not run out of ammunition.
None of that changes the reality that our weapons still cannot match those of the Islamic State.
We will never give up. But we need more than merely rifles and grenades to carry out our own responsibilities and aid the coalition in its war against the jihadist forces. Currently, even when fighters from other Kurdish regions in Northern Syria try to supply us with some of their armored vehicles and antitank missiles, Turkey has not allowed them to do so.
Turkey, a NATO member, should have been an ally in this conflict. It could easily have helped us by allowing access between different Syrian Kurdish areas, so as to let fighters and supplies move back and forth through Turkish territory.
Instead, the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has several times publicly equated our fighters, who are defending a diverse and democratic society, with the murderous Islamic State, evidently because of the controversy surrounding Turkey’s Kurdish minority.
Last week, following domestic and international criticism, Turkish leaders at last said they would open a corridor for a small group of Iraqi pesh merga fighters, and some Free Syrian Army brigades, to cross into Kobani. But they still will not allow other Syrian Kurds to cross Turkish territory to reach us. This has been decided without consulting us.
As a result, the Islamic State can bring in endless amounts of new supplies and ammunition, but we are still effectively blockaded on all sides — on three by the Islamic State’s forces, and on the fourth by Turkish tanks. There is evidence that Turkish forces have allowed the Islamic State’s men and equipment to move back and forth across the border. But Syrian Kurdish fighters cannot do the same.
The Turkish government is pursuing an anti-Kurdish policy against the Syrian Kurds, and their priority is to suppress the Kurdish freedom movement in Northern Syria. They want Kobani to fall.
We have never been hostile to Turkey. We want to see it as a partner, not an enemy, and we believe that it is in the Turkish government’s interest to have a border with the democratic administration of a western Kurdistan rather than one with the Islamic State.
Western governments should increase their pressure on Turkey to open a corridor for Syrian Kurdish forces and their heavy weapons to reach the defenders of Kobani through the border. We believe that such a corridor, and not only the limited transport of other fighters that Turkey has proposed, should be opened under the supervision of the United Nations.
We have proved ourselves to be one of the only effective forces battling the Islamic State in Syria. Whenever we meet them on equal terms, they are always defeated. If we had more weapons and could be joined by more of our fighters from elsewhere in Syria, we would be in a position to strike a deadly blow against the Islamic State, one that we believe would ultimately lead to its dissolution across the region as a whole.
The people of Kobani need the attention and help of the world.
Meysa Abdo, who is also known by the nom de guerre Narin Afrin, is a commander of the resistance in Kobani.
This article was translated from the Kurdish for the New York Times by Güney Yildiz.