World Bulletin / News Desk
Turkey's pro-Kurdish PKK, an internationally recognized terrorist group, called on Thursday for the youth of the country's mostly Kurdish southeast to join the fight against ISIL militants in northern Syria.
The call came as ISIL fighters encircled the city of Ayn al-Arab near the Turkish border after seizing 21 villages in a major assault that prompted a commander to appeal for military aid from other Kurds in the region.
"We've lost touch with many of the residents living in the villages that ISIS seized," Ocalan Iso, deputy head of the Kurdish forces in Kobani, told Reuters via Skype.
"The youth of northern Kurdistan (southeast Turkey) should go to Kobane (Ayn al-Arab) and take part in the historic, honourable resistance," the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) said in a statement on its website.
Footage posted on YouTube on Wednesday by the YPG, the main Kurdish armed group in Syria, appeared to show Kurdish fighters armed with assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades battling a tank flying the ISIL's black flag west of Kobani.
About 3,000 men, women and children arrived at the Turkish border roughly 10 km (6 miles) from Kobani but were still waiting on the Syrian side after night fell, a Reuters witness said. Turkish forces stopped the crowd from crossing.
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said the governors of border provinces in Turkey, where Kurdish militants have waged a three-decade insurgency to push for greater autonomy, had been ordered to extend aid to refugees on Syrian side of the border.
"We're ready to help our brothers who are building up at the borders regardless of their ethnicity, religion and sect. But our priority is to deliver aid within Syria's borders," he told reporters in Ankara.
WARNING FROM ANKARA
In remarks to reporters following talks with Danish parliamentary speaker Mogens Lykketoft on Wednesday, Turkish Parliamentary Speaker Cemil Cicek warned the PKK is attempting to portray itself positively to the West by exploiting its fight against ISIL.
"PKK blocks the roads, abducts people and continues with bomb attacks whenever it finds the opportunity," Cicek said.
He went on: "But it tries to seem attractive to the West through its fight with ISIL. We hope the West will not be deceived by such an illusion. This organization continues to be a terrorist one."
The latest clashes across the border were a fresh headache for NATO member Turkey, which has made clear it is reluctant to play any frontline role in U.S. President Barack Obama's plans to bomb ISIL fighters in Syria and Iraq as it would risk the lives of 49 Turkish citizens held hostage by the group.
Turkey, which launched a peace process with jailed PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan in 2012 to end a 30-year-old conflict which has killed more than 40,000 people in Turkey, agreed to allow the US to use the Incirlik air base in south-eastern Turkey for humanitarian purposes only, refusing a request by the U.S. for it to become an active base in air strikes on ISIL targets in neighboring Iraq.
Having itself faced with threats of attack by the ISIL, Turkey has been discussing plans to create buffer zones and no-fly zones over some parts of Syria and Iraq to prevent the war from spilling over on to its territories.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with his ministers to discuss a report drawn up by Turkey's Chief of Army Staff Necdet Ozel which stated that attacks by the US-led coalition in Iraq and Syria could lead to a new wave of up to four million refugees fleeing towards Turkey's borders, which would make buffer zones set up by NATO forces necessary.
The report did not specifically state the surface area of the proposed buffer zones, but should the plan be accepted at the 69th session of the U.N. General Assembly on September 21, which President Erdogan plans to attend, it is expected that Erdogan will seek to include Turkey's Suleiman Shah base in Syria's Aleppo to be included within it.Last Mod: 19 Eylül 2014, 00:00