Battle for Kobani: Turkey Clears Way for Kurdish 'Peshmerga' Fighters

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June 30, 201401:18

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SURUC, Turkey - Turkey's foreign minister said Monday his country is helping Iraqi Kurdish forces cross into the Syrian border town of Kobani "to give support" to fellow Kurdish fighters defending the town against ISIS. The remarks by Mevlut Cavusoglu at a news conference in Ankara followed the announcement by the U.S. military that it had for the first time airdropped weapons, ammunition and medical supplies to Kurdish forces in Kobani.

Turkey previously has said it would oppose any U.S. arms transfers to the Kurdish rebels in Syria. But the U.S. military's announcement of the airdrops, coupled with the Turkish foreign minister's statements, is an unexpected development and suggests Turkey may be softening its stance on the issue of helping the Syrian Kurds. However, Cavusoglu did not elaborate and it was not immediately clear whether Turkey was actually allowing Kurdish fighters across the border into Syria, after blocking them for so long.

"Iraq's Kurdish Regional Government announced that they are in cooperation with Turkey and the U.S.," Cavusoglu said. "Actually, we are helping peshmerga forces to enter into Kobani to give support," he added.


- The Associated Press