Kurdish fighters in Kobane get weapon airdrops
Kurdish forces fighting Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants near the Syrian border town of Kobane received weapons, ammunition and medical supplies in airdrops conducted by U.S. military aircraft, Reuters news agency reported.
The supplies, delivered in several airdrops by U.S. Air Force C-130, were provided by Kurdish authorities in Iraq and were “intended to enable continued resistance against ISIL’s attempts to overtake Kobane,” the U.S. military said in a statement.
The 135 U.S. air striked in addition to continues resistance against ISIS on the ground, had slowed the group’s advances into the Kurdish-Syrian town killing hundreds of its fighters.
“However, the security situation in Kobane remains fragile as ISIL continues to threaten the city and Kurdish forces continue to resist,” the statement said, mentioning no new air strikes.
The “resupply” of rebel fighters is the latest escalation in the U.S. effort to help local forces beat back the radical Sunni militant group in Syria after years of trying to avoid getting dragged into the more than three-year Syrian civil war.
The United States began carrying out air strikes against ISIS targets in Iraq in August and about a month later started bombing the militant group in neighboring Syria, in part to prevent it from enjoying safe haven on Syrian territory.
A spokesman for Kurdish forces fighting ISIS militants in Kobane later confirmed on his Twitter feed that a “large quantity of ammunition and weapons” had reached the town.
U.S. officials, speaking in a conference call, described the weapons delivered as “small arms” but gave no details.
The United States gave Turkey advance notice of its plans to deliver arms to the Syrian Kurds, a group Turkey views with deep distrust because of its links to Turkish Kurds who have fought a decades-long insurgency in which 40,000 people were killed.
“President Obama spoke to Erdogan yesterday and was able to notify him of our intent to do this and the importance that we put on it,” one senior U.S. official told reporters.
“We understand the longstanding Turkish concern with the range of groups, including Kurdish groups, that they have been engaged in conflict with,” he added. “However, our very strong belief is that both the United States and Turkey face a common enemy in ISIL and that we need to act on an urgent basis.”
Three U.S. C-130 transport aircraft dropped 27 bundles of weapons and medical supplies to the Syrian Kurds, said a second U.S. official, adding the planes left Syrian air space unharmed and that the majority of the bundles had reached their targets.