Kurdish men watch fighting in the outskirts of the Syrian town of Kobani, also known as Ain al-Arab, from the southeastern border village of Mursitpinar, Sanliurfa province, on November 4, 2014. (AFP/Aris Messinis)
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Ethnic Kurds are helping members of ISIS in the battle for the key Syrian Kurdish town of Kobani, sharing their knowledge of the local terrain and language with the extremists, according to Iraqi and Kurdish officials.As Kurdish fighters were defending the nearby Syrian village of Shiran in September, two Kurdish men with different accents and wearing YPG uniforms infiltrated their ranks, Kurdish officials said.Iraqi and Kurdish officials say many of the Kurdish fighters with ISIS are from the northeastern Iraqi town of Halabja, which was bombed with chemical weapons by Saddam Hussein's forces in 1988, killing some 5,000 people.Nawaf Khalil, the Europe-based spokesman for Syria's powerful Kurdish Democratic Union Party, said Kurdish fighters within ISIS are invaluable in the Kobani battle because they know the geography, as well as the language and the mentality of fellow Kurds.Mustafa Bali, a Kurdish activist in Kobani, said that by having Kurdish fighters, ISIS extremists are trying to win the hearts and minds of Syrian Kurds in the area.
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