Iraq’s Kurdish Peshmerga Forces Enter Syria’s Kobani

The first Peshmerga forces have entered the besieged city of Kobane, according to local witnesses and Kurdish officers.

An advance team of 10-15 officers entered Kobane through the Turkish border on Wednesday afternoon to plan a collective strategy with the People’s Protection Units (YPG), the Syrian-Kurdish force that has been defending the city against an Islamic State (ISIS) takeover.

The Peshmerga team is also exploring an entry strategy for the approximately 150 Iraqi Kurdish soldiers that will provide artillery support to the YPG in Kobane. Those men await orders to deploy at a temporary camp at Pirsus, seven miles from Turkey’s border with Syria, where they are being guarded by the Turkish military.

Kurdish commanders said ISIS had intensified attacks over the last 48 hours in expectation of the Peshmerga’s arrival. US-led coalition jets hit several targets Wednesday night and Thursday morning to facilitate a safe crossing.

The Peshmerga will be the first foreign soldiers to be dispatched to the Syrian Kurdish border town, which has been under siege by ISIS for more than 40 days. Local Kurdish fighters have held out with backing from US-led airstrikes.