World Bulletin/News Desk
Turkish government has dismissed the claims over a second group of Kurdish peshmerga forces will be sent by the Iraqi Kurdish government via Turkey to enter Syrian border town of Kobani to help assist Kurdish groups fighting ISIL militants.
"It is certainly not true that a second convoy or armed force will go to Kobani (via Turkey)," Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc told a late night press briefing following Monday's Council of Ministers' meeting in Ankara.
"We have recieved neither a demand nor any notice, and there is also no preparation for such a move," Arinc added.
Turkey had recently given the go-ahead for the passage of a group of around 160 Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga forces through its territories to reach the battle-torn town lying on Syria-Turkey borderline, whose mission was to repel the ISIL threat to the Kurdish town.
The Kobani-bound peshmerga troops landed on a private plane at Turkey's GAP Airport in the southeastern province of Sanliurfa from Iraqi Kurdish capital Erbil early Wednesday, along with a separate truck convoy carrying their heavy weaponry via the Habur border crossing in the southeastern Sirnak province.
After entering Turkish soil, the convoy with the troops and their weaponry on board crossed the Yumurtalik border gate late Friday into Kobani.
The battle for control of the strategic Syrian town between ISIL militants and armed Kurdish groups 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 after fleeing the fighting.
Turkey has also been strongly supporting a proposal before the international community and the UN to establish a no-fly zone and a safe haven for refugees inside Syria near the Turkish border.
Kurdish government ready to send more forces
Additional Kurdish peshmerga forces are prepared to reinforce forces defending the besieged Syrian town of Kobani, the top foreign policy official for Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government said Monday.
Falah Mustafa Bakir told The Anadolu Agency that the KRG is prepared to send additional troops “if needed,” following public remarks at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.
Bakir thanked Turkey for its role in facilitating the movement of an initial convoy of peshmerga fighters into Kobani, saying, “This has proven that we are all together in fighting ISIS and we all have a shared interest. ISIS is a threat to all of us, and we all have to work together in order to defeat them,” using an alternative name for ISIL.
“In all of the areas that ISIS gained control, we have regained control over most of the territory that was lost to them, and that shows the determination of the Kurdish people, of the Kurdish peshmerga forces, and we will do it until we achieve all of our objectives,” Bakir said.
“The peshmerga are a source of real pride,” he added. “They are brave. They are dedicated. They have challenged Sadaam Hussein’s regime. They did not surrender to it. And it would be impossible for them to surrender to the will of these terrorist groups.”
The foreign minister added that the Kurdistan Regional Government is “not ready to go back to pre-June Iraq” – an apparent reference to the administration gaining control of the oil-rich city of Kirkuk as Iraqi security forces retreated that month.
“Today in Kurdistan we want to exercise more political power, more economic power and more sovereignty,” he told the audience during public remarks.
Under Article 140 of the Iraqi constitution, the status of the city was supposed to be determined by referendum. The oft-delayed poll has yet to be held.
Bakir reiterated calls for the international community to supply peshmerga with heavy weaponry in addition to continued US-led airstrikes, saying the weapons are vital in any efforts to move from repelling attacks to an offensive against the militants.
He told AA that he thinks it's only “a matter of time” before the forces receive the weapons they need, saying that Kurdish Iraqi officials are working with the central government in Baghdad “because sometimes that was also an issue.”
“We hope that we will be able to address these issues so that the peshmergas will get the heavy weaponry.”
“The attempts at genocide, especially at the Yazidi Kurds, and the Christian community and the Shabak – it was shocking to us to see a terrorist group come and be there in order to implement the principles of medieval ages," he told the audience. "That was too much for us."
Last Mod: 04 Kasım 2014, 12:51