Iraqi Kurdish Fighters Arrive in Turkey for Kobani Battle
Iraqi Kurdish fighters armed with mortars and Katyusha rocket launchers arrived in Turkey today on their way to the Syrian town of Kobani, where they’ll join the fight against Islamic State.
The semi-autonomous Kurdish government in northern Iraq sent about 150 fighters, half of them arriving by plane to the city of Sanliurfa near the border with Syria, Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency reported. The forces haven’t yet arrived in Kobani, a Kurdish stronghold in Syria along the Turkish border, Mustafa Bali, a spokesman for the Kurdish Democratic Union party, said by phone from the city.
“We’re expecting them within hours,” he said.
The deployment of Kurdish fighters, known as Peshmerga, aims to break the weeks-long siege of Kobani by Islamic State, an al-Qaeda breakaway group that has captured large areas of Syria and Iraq since June. The Kurdish fighters in the besieged city have held off the militants with the help of U.S. airstrikes and airdrops of weapons and supplies for Kobani’s defenders.