Peshmerga forces head to Kobane

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A convoy of Kurdish peshmerga fighters drive through Arbil after leaving a base in northern Iraq, on their way to the Syrian town of Kobane, October 28, 2014. (Reuters)

ARA News

Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan – On Tuesday, Iraqi Kurdistan’s Peshmerga forces headed for the Syrian city of Kobane to back kinsmen in repelling the advances of IS militants. 

The city of Kobane, at the Turkish border, has been under attack by militants of the Islamic State (IS/ISIS) for a month, where the Kurdish forces of the Popular Protection Units (YPG) continuously defend the city. 

The U.S.-led anti-IS international coalition have supported the Kurdish forces through the launching dozens of airstrikes against strongholds of the IS in Kobane, killing hundreds of the IS extremists.

However, the operations couldn’t halt the advance of the radical group towards the city; a fact which led Iraqi Kurdistan’s President Massoud Barzani to make a decision of sending Peshmerga troops to back the Kurdish fighters in Kobane. 

Hemin Hawrami, a senior official in the Kurdistan Democratic Party in Iraq (KDP), said that Peshmerga soldiers were flying from Arbil airport in northern Iraq to Turkey, from where they would travel overland to Kobane.

Meanwhile, Salih Muslim, co-chair of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), said that around 150 Peshmergas had entered Turkey from Iraq and were expected to reach Kobane later on Tuesday night.

A Kurdish television channel showed footage of what it said was a convoy of Peshmerga vehicles in northern Iraq loaded with weapons and on their way to the besieged city. 

“We welcome the deployment of Peshmerga fighters and weapons from the Kurdistan Region to Kobane, which began this evening,” Brett McGurk, a deputy envoy tasked by U.S. President Barack Obama with building a coalition against IS, said on Twitter. 

Last week, the parliament of Iraqi Kurdistan voted to deploy some Peshmerga soldiers to Syria’s Kobane.

According to earlier statements by officials of the Kurdistan Regional Government in northern Iraq (KRG), the Peshmerga forces would not engage in direct combat in Kobane, but rather provide artillery support to the Kurdish forces of the YPG there.

Kurdistan’s Minister of Peshmerga, Mustafa Sayyid Qader, told local media on Tuesday that no limits had been set to how long the forces would remain in Kobane.

 

Reporting by: Eyaz Ciziri

Source: ARA News 

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