TurkishPresident: US Wrong To Drop Weapons İnto Kobane
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday criticised as “wrong” the airdrops of ammunition and weapons by US planes to Kurdish fighters battling jihadists in the Syrian town of Kobane.
In an indication of the tensions that remain between Washington and and Ankara on how to deal with the Islamic State group, Erdogan said he could not understand why Kobane was so strategic for the United States.
He said the weapons had fallen into the hands of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) — a Syrian Kurdish group that Ankara does not support and also IS jihadists.
“It has become clear that this was wrong,” Erdogan told reporters at Ankara airport before leaving on a trip to Latvia and Estonia.
US cargo planes earlier this week dropped ammunition, weapons and medical supplies to the Kurdish fighters who have been battling the jihadists for control of Kobane for over a month.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said at least one of the loads dropped had been picked up by the jihadists. A video purportedly showing this has surfaced online.
But Erdogan indicated that Turkey was equally troubled by the weapons falling into the hands of the PYD, whose armed branch the People’s Protection Units (YPG) has led the fight against the jihadists.
“Some of the airdrops have fallen into the hands of the PYD and ISIS,” Erdogan said, using another name for IS. “It’s impossible to achieve results with such an operation.”
“Any support you would give PYD would benefit the PKK. And as Turkey we need to fight against this,” Erdogan added.
“One should not resort to such actions for appearances’ sake,” he said of the airdrops.
Erdogan’s comments came after Turkey agreed to allow Kurdish peshmerga fighters to cross its territory to join the fight against IS in Kobane.
Erdogan said he had made the proposal to bring the peshmerga to Kobane himself in telephone talks with US President Barack Obama.
But Turkey would only cooperate with the peshmerga and the anti-Assad Free Syrian Army (FSA), and not the PYD, he added.
Erdogan said he believed that there were now no civilians left in Kobane, which lies just south of the Turkish border, and some 2,000 fighters inside the city.
“I don’t understand why Kobane is so strategic for the US, there are no civilians left there,” he said.