Turkish PM: Need for integrated strategy to save Kobani

Turkey cannot be expected to send troops to defend Kobani and only Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga fighters and Syria's own moderate opposition can save it, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said.

Turkish PM: Need for integrated strategy to save Kobani

World Bulletin/News Desk

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said in an interview broadcast Tuesday that coalition forces should work together to save the Syrian border town of Kobani.

Turkey will not interfere with the operation of other forces as long as the goal is a democratic Syria without the current regime in place, he said.

U.S. warplanes have been bombing ISIL positions near Kobani for weeks, but air strikes alone will not be enough to repel the insurgents, Davutoglu said.

"Saving Kobani, retaking Kobani and some area around Kobani from ISIS, there's a need for a military operation," he said in an interview with the BBC broadcast on Tuesday.

But made clear neither Turkey nor Western allies would commit troops.

"If they (international coalition) don't want to send their ground troops, how can they expect Turkey to send Turkish ground troops with the same risks on our border," Davutoglu said.

"We never allowed any foreign fighters to go inside Syria," Davutoglu said. "There is no evidence that Turkey has any link, any cooperation, any support to these kind of groups. These groups are a threat to Turkey as well."

He also said Turkey had declared ISIL, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, also known as ISIS, a terrorist organization last year. The interview with the BBC was recorded Monday.

The prime minister stressed the importance of training and equipping the Free Syrian Army so the Assad regime -- or the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK -- will not come back.

Turkey, the U.S. and the EU list PKK as a terrorist organization.

"We will help any forces, any coalition, through airbases or through other means if we have a common understanding to have a new pluralistic democratic Syria, and to fight against all crimes against humanity committed by ISIS as a terrorist organization or committed by the brutal regime," he said.

Turkish officials have rebuffed international criticism over their reluctance to do more to help Kobani's beleaguered Kurdish defenders, whom they say are linked to the militant Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has fought a decades long insurgency against the Turkish state.

Turkey last week agreed to let peshmerga forces from Iraq cross its territory to reach Kobani as its preferred alternative to U.S. planes air-dropping weapons to Kurdish fighters in the town.

On Monday a Turkish official denied accusations from a Syrian Kurdish leader that Ankara was stalling on the deal, saying the peshmerga could cross "as soon as they are ready".

"The only way to help Kobani since other countries don't want to use ground troops, is sending some peace oriented or moderate troops to Kobani. What are they? Peshmerga ... and Free Syrian Army (Syrian opposition forces)."

Davutoglu renewed calls on the United States to train and arm fighters from the Free Syrian Army (FSA), a loose coalition of groups who have been battling Assad and who have long been supported by Turkey.

"We will help any forces, any coalition, through air bases (within Turkey) or through other means if we have a common understanding to have a new pluralistic, democratic Syria."

Washington has committed to arming the Syrian opposition, but officials remain concerned about identifying effective, moderate groups in the increasingly bloody and radicalised conflict.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 28 Ekim 2014, 12:53