Author(s): Azad Cudi; Alex Perry
As Syria imploded in civil war in 2011, Kurdish volunteers in the north rose up to free their homeland from centuries of repression and create a progressive sanctuary that they named Rojava. To the medievalists of ISIS, the emergence of a haven of tolerance and democracy on the frontier of their new caliphate was an affront. They amassed 12,000 men, heavy artillery, tanks, mortars and ranks of suicide bombers to crush the uprising. Against them stood 2,500 volunteer fighters armed with 40-year-old rifles. There was only one way for the Kurds to survive. They would have to kill the invaders one by one. A decade earlier, as a 19-year-old conscript into the Iranian army, Azad Cudi had faced being forced to fight his own Kurdish people. Instead he had deserted, seeking asylum in Britain. Now, as he returned to his homeland to help build a new Kurdistan, he found he would have to pick up a gun once more. In September 2014, Azad became one of 17 snipers deployed when ISIS, trying to shatter the Kurds in a decisive battle, besieged the northern city of Kobani. In LONG SHOT, Azad tells the inside story of how a group of activists and idealists withstood a ferocious assault and, street by street, house by house, took back their land in a victory that was to prove the turning point in the war against ISIS. By turns devastating, inspiring and lyrical, this is an unique account of modern war and of the incalculable price of victory as a few thousand men and women achieved the impossible and kept their dream of freedom alive.