Erdogan: Syrian Kurds seem to accept FSA in Kobani

Erdogan said the Kurdish PYD had agreed to the passage of 1,300 Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters to Kobani to reinforce Kurdish forces there.

Erdogan: Syrian Kurds seem to accept FSA in Kobani

World Bulletin/News Desk

Turkey's president said Friday that Syrian Kurdish militants have agreed to accept 1,300 Free Syrian Army troops in Kobani to help fight the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

However, President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the Syrian Kurdish fighters -- who belong to the Democratic Union Party, or PYD -- could change their minds in the future. 

He also said peshmerga forces, Kurdish fighters from Iraq, would be joining the fight to save Kobani, a Syrian town near the Turkish border.

"The PYD previously approved the passage of some 200 peshmerga forces," Erdogan said. "However, we later learned that the number agreed has changed and now it is only 150 peshmerga soldiers."

Erdogan made his remarks in a joint press conference with his Estonian counterpart, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, in Talinn, the Estonian capital.

"We meticulously said that our approach is very positive toward the FSA's fighting in Syria," Erdogan said. "We always said that our first preference in Syria is the FSA, and the second preference is peshmerga."

"Now they seemed to have accepted some 1,300 troops from the FSA," he said.

Hovewer, the co-chair of the Syrian Kurdish PYD said on Friday that no agreement has been reached yet on the passage of Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters into the besieged border town of Kobani, contradicting comments from Erdogan.

"We already established connection with FSA but no such agreement has been reached yet as Mr. Erdogan has mentioned," Saleh Muslim told Reuters via phone from Brussels.

The FSA, the main opposition armed group battling Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, will send troops to the town to aid in the fight against ISIL, according to a written statement by the group's operating unit in Aleppo.

The troops will be under the command of Colonel Abdul-Jabbar al-Aqidi. Details of the operations were not made public.

In the statement, the group called on international coalition forces and other armed groups in the region for assistance and cooperation in combating ISIL.

The battle for control of Kobani has been raging since mid-September when ISIL entered the town. An estimated 1.5 million Syrian refugees, including some 190,000 from Kobani, are being sheltered in camps across Turkey.

Syrian Kurd leader sees war of "attrition" in Kobani

The battle for the Syrian town of Kobani will turn into a war of attrition unless Kurds defending it from an ISIL onslaught get arms that can repel tanks and armoured vehicles, a Syrian Kurdish leader told a pan-Arab newspaper.

The United States, which has been leading air strikes against ISIL in Syria and Iraq, airdropped weapons to the Kurds in Kobani on Sunday that U.S. officials described as "small arms".

"(It's) attrition for both sides unless something in the situation changes," Saleh Moslem, head of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), told Asharq al-Awsat newspaper in remarks published on Friday.

He said the Kurds had recently received information that ISIL wanted to fire chemical weapons into Kobani using mortars. He said the militant group had surrounded the town, whose Arabic name is Ayn al-Arab, with around 40 tanks.

"If we were to receive qualitative (stronger) weapons, we would be able to hit the tanks and armoured vehicles that they use - we may be able to bring a qualitative change in the battle," he said.

Asked about the recent arms air drop and the U.S.-led strikes, he said: "They are not enough to change the balance of power, but if they continue then they can bring about a change. Air raids so far are limited."

He accused Ankara of supporting the ultra-radical ISIL, saying it had turned a blind eye when 120 IS fighters crossed the border from Turkey earlier this week.

Ankara denies aiding militants but has been loath to enable any help for Syrian Kurds who have links to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) that has waged a three-decade separatist insurgency in Turkey.

A senior official in Iraq's Kurdistan region said they would be equipped with heavier weapons than those being used by Syrian Kurds already there.

Asked about the prospect of Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga forces joining the battle for Kobani, Moslem said none had arrived yet and talks were continuing on a technical level.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 24 Ekim 2014, 14:57