Musa the Sniper

One man got inside the heads of ISIS fighters, literally and figuratively, throughout the months-long siege of Kobani. He was called Heval Hardem, aka: “Musa the Sniper.”

“No matter how brutal war is, there are still rules,” Musa told Kurdish media. “ISIS has no rules and does not follow the codes of war.

“I walked for miles once just to kill a single ISIS fighter,” Musa told Kurdish media. “Before and after killing them, I knew who the ISIS fighters were and could identify them by the bullet.”

The bullet came from Musa’s signature weapon, a Russian-made Dragunov rifle, which gave him a deadly range of 400 meters.

Musa the Sniper, 26, was born in Iran (or “Eastern Kurdistan”) and joined the Syrian Kurdish YPG three years ago. He fought in Kobani from the first day until the last, training others to be snipers when he wasn’t protecting Kurdish fighters on the ground.

During his life, he was an essential part of the Kurdish fight against Daesh (what the Arabs call ISIS, an acronym of the group’s name in Arabic, which means “a bigot who imposes his views on others”) in Kobani. For four months, he moved continually from ruined house to ruined house in the city, providing cover and killing as many enemy fighters as possible.

“When it rained, when it snowed, I was able to take out more Daesh fighters,” he said. “I got all my targets. I do not waste bullets.”

In September 2014, ISIS fighters captured 350 Kurdish villages in the Northern Syrian area of Rojava, an area claimed by the Kurds since the start of the Syrian Civil War. The main city they captured was Kobani, a small city on the Turkish border. When the siege of Kobani picked up a lot of attention in the West, ISIS poured thousands of fighters into the area in an effort to show their superiority.

Instead it became an example of tactical blunder, due mainly to the efforts of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) to push ISIS from the town. American air strikes with aid from the Iraqi Peshmerga and Free Syrian Army helped dislodge ISIS. The biggest morale booster to the YPG fighters in Kobani, however, was Musa the Sniper.

“After the liberation of Kobani, I went around and found all my targets laying dead amid the ruins.”

Musa is credited with hundreds of kills in Kobani alone.

He was himself killed earlier this year in the Kobani region.

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