Iraq’s Peshmerga sending fighters to Kobane

Smoke and flames rise following an explosion in the Syrian town of Kobane.

Smoke and flames rise following an explosion in the Syrian town of Kobane.

Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government will be sending Peshmerga fighters to the embattled Syrian city of Kobane to help their brethren fight the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the secretary-general of the Ministry of Peshmerga, Jabbar Yawar, told reporters in Erbil on Tuesday.

Yawar said the Kurdistan Regional Government had supplied Kurdish fighters in Kobane with aid supplies including arms and ammunition. U.S. Central Command said on Monday C-130 transport planes made “multiple” drops of supplies provided by the Iraqi Kurds.

A bundle of supplies that went astray was later bombed by U.S. war planes to prevent it from falling into the hands of ISIS, the U.S. military said.

The Peshmerga’s decision to send forces to Kobane came after a day after Turkey said it would allow Kurdish forces to cross into Kobane, a move that was praised by Ankara’s NATO ally Washington, who is actively engaged in the fight against ISIS.

“We welcome those statements from the foreign ministry,” State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters.

An influx of well-trained Peshmerga fighters into Kobane could be a major boost for the Syrian Kurds, who are now being supported by U.S.-led air strikes and air drops after a month-long battle against ISIS.

“I think as we’ve all seen ISIL pour more resources, more fighters into Kobane, the situation has become… increasingly serious,” Harf said.

She added talks were continuing with Turkey about further ways in which the Turks could help the U.S.-led coalition fighting the militants, who have grabbed a large area of territory in Iraq and Syria.

“I would disagree with the notion that there’s some split between us on how to fight this threat. Overarching goals here are exactly the same. We have constant conversations about tactics and strategy and how we should go about that.”

It had become clear that, after a month under bombardment, “the forces on the ground were running low on supplies necessary to continue this fight, that’s why we decided now to authorize this,” Harf said of the U.S. air drops.

“And our support will continue to help them repel ISIL. That said, there’s still a possibility that Kobane will fall,” she warned.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry warned on Monday during a visit to Indonesia that it would have been “irresponsible as well as morally very difficult” to turn the world’s back on Kobane.

 
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