Turkey to Allow Peshmerga to Cross Into Kobane

Turkey to Allow Peshmerga to Cross Into KobaneTurkey to Allow Peshmerga to Cross Into Kobane

A deal has been reached for 200 Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga forces to pass through Turkey to help Syrian Kurdish fighters in the besieged town of Kobane, just over the border in Syria, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Thursday.

The Syrian Kurdish fighters had originally declined the deployment of Peshmerga troops, but Erdogan told reporters in Riga, Latvia, that he’d learned Wednesday that an agreement for the reinforcement force had been reached.

However, an aide to the minister for Peshmerga in Iraq’s Kurdish Regional Government told CNN that talks are ongoing.

The technical discussions involve four parties -- the United States, Turkey, the Syrian Kurds and the KRG in Iraq -- and decisions on numbers and timing are still a ways off, he said.

The reports on the Peshmerga forces came on the same day that Erdogan accused the United States of arming a group linked with terrorists, according to Anadolu, Turkey’s semiofficial news agency.

Kurdish fighters have been battling alongside the so-called Free Syrian Army forces (who have until recently been fighting against the Syrian government) to repel IS forces from the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobane.

  Strategic Factor

As the clashes raged in Kobane, Erdogan said the border city, which is under the control of the armed wing of the Democratic Union Party, or PYD, is more important to Turkey than the US because Turkey houses the roughly 200,000 refugees who have fled the fighting there, Anadolu reported.

He asked the US to recognize the “dilemmas” there while accusing the country of arming terrorist elements among the Kurdish forces.

“Kobane is not strategic for the US,” he said. “It could be strategic for us only. And also, Turkey is currently accommodating all the civilians fleeing from the town. There are no civilians there.”

Erdogan went on to say the US was pushing arms to the PYD, which he accused of affiliation with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, which is considered a terrorist organization by the US, Turkey, NATO among others.

“We had said that there are commanders from the PKK in the ranks of PYD fighting in Syria,” Erdogan said. “We had said that any US aid to this group is going to a terrorist organization.”

  Airdropped Supplies

There had been hopes that foreign airstrikes and airdropped supplies could help Kurdish fighters turn the tide against the IS militants. But the onslaught has continued.

IS has said that at least some of the airdropped supplies made it into its fighters’ hands.

A video posted on social media shows what appears to be an IS fighter next to a parachute bundle. He goes on to show what appears to be the contents of the bundle, including crates of hand grenades and mortar rounds.

According to Anadolu, Erdogan said IShad seized some of the weapons.

“The rest, they also were seized by another terrorist organization, the PYD. Turkey did never lean toward such military aid and the US did that despite Turkey,” the news agency quoted him as saying.

Erdogan further said the Syrian groups that deserve help are the Free Syrian Army and the Peshmerga fighters, the news agency reported.