Peshmerga Fly To Turkey On Way To Kobane Frontline
According to Rudaw English, a unit of 150 Kurdish Peshmerga were on Tuesday flying out of Erbil to Turkey on their way to join the battle against Islamic State fighters besieging the Syrian border town of Kobane, according to a source close to the Kurdistan Regional Government.
The deployment of the Kurdish soldiers comes after two days of negotiations with Turkey, through whose territory they must pass to reach Kobane, which lies just across the Turkish frontier.
The unit will provide heavy weapons cover, including artillery, to Syrian Kurdish militia fighters who have been holding out in the predominantly Kurdish town for more than 40 days with sir support from US-led coalition warplanes.
The news that the Kurdish soldiers are on the move came hours after the office of the KRG president, Massoud Barzani, said Erbil authorities “don’t yet have an answer from the Turkish side.”
A two-day hold up in the scheduled deployment followed comments by Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish president, that the arrival of the reinforcements was being blocked by the Syrian-Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), whose YPG militia has been at the forefront of Kobane’s defence.
However, Salih Muslim, co-chair of the PYD told Turkey’s CNN Turk television channel on Monday he did not believe the Peshmerga would try to take over from his fighters defending the town and accused Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of meddling.
“Is everything going to be ordered by him? The YPG and the Peshmerga command come to an agreement amongst themselves. In the first phase, it is said to be 150-200 [Peshmerga],” Muslim said.
Muslim’s comments were the latest in a war of words between the PYD and Ankara, following Turkey’s announcement last week it would open a corridor through its territory for Peshmerga to enter Kobane.
The source close to the KRG said the Peshmerga unit was equipped with US weapons and was transporting its own kit and supplies.
He added that the Kurdish soldiers were drawn from the First And Second Defence Force. Their weapons would travel by road to the battlefront.
The deployment of the Peshmerga force was ordered by President Barzani and supported by the Kurdistan Regional parliament.
According to the source, it took six meetings between Turkey and the KRG to agree on the deployment.