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Problems with the Kurds as proxies against Islamic State: insights from the siege of Kobane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)865-885
Number of pages21
JournalSmall Wars and Insurgencies
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2015

King's Authors


The siege of the northern Syrian town of Kobane was lifted in January 2015. The Kurdish defenders there had triumphed against Islamic State (IS). The conflict then moved on. It moved on, though, with the United States, the United Kingdom, and other Western powers having adopted, almost by default, the Kurds as proxy fighters in this conflict. The Kurds, however, are a divided and fractious nation spread across three states and historically famous for fighting among themselves. In employing the Kurds as proxies against IS, as this article shows, these Western powers must be aware of the unintended consequences that can result.

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