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News, October 2014
US Air Strikes on Islamic State Fighters, Weapons for Kurds, Turkey Allows Kurdish Fighters to Cross Border to Syria
October 21, 2014
U.S. airdrops weapons to Kurds in Syria's Ayn al-Arab: activists
English.news.cn 2014-10-20 17:34:39
DAMASCUS, Oct. 20, 2014 (Xinhua) --
U.S. aircraft dropped large quantities of weapons, munitions and medical supplies to outgunned Kurdish fighters battling Islamic State (IS) militants in Syria's predominantly Kurdish town of Ayn al-Arab on the Syrian-Turkish borders, a monitoring group said Monday.
The supplies were received by the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) at dawn Monday in Ayn al-Arab, also known as Kobane, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which relies on a network of activists on the ground.
The Pentagon confirmed the report.
"U.S. military aircraft drop supplies to Kurdish forces in Kobane," Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said on his official Twitter account, describing the move as "another example of U.S. resolve to deny the Islamic State key terrain."
The U.S. Central Command also released a statement, saying U.S. military forces conducted "multiple airdrops" of supplies in the vicinity of Ayn al-Arab to resupply outgunned Kurdish YPG, whose forces have been taking pains in defending the town against wide- scale offensive by the IS since Sept. 15.
According to the statement, U.S. aircraft delivered weapons, ammunition and medical supplies, which were provided by Kurdish authorities in Iraq and intended to enable continued resistance against IS attempts to overtake Ayn al-Arab.
The U.S. Central Command also said that a total of 135 airstrikes by the U.S.-led coalition against IS militants in Ayn al-Arab, in addition to the Kurdish resistance on the ground, had contributed to slowing down the advancement of IS into the town.
Kurdish activists were cited by some Arab television stations on Monday as saying the new weapons supplies could contribute to tilting the balance of power in favor of the Kurds in Ayn al-Arab, but the U.S. Central Command warned that Ayn al-Arab could still fall as the security situation there remains "fragile."
Over the past month, IS militants armed with heavy weapons have been on a crushing offensive to capture the strategically important Ayn al-Arab on the Syrian-Turkish border.
5 civilians killed by U.S. strikes in Syria: activists
DAMASCUS, Oct. 18, 2014 (Xinhua) --
At least five civilians were killed by the strikes of the U.S.-led anti-Islamic State coalition in northern and eastern Syria on Saturday, a monitoring group reported.
The strikes of the U.S. coalition killed three people, including a teenager in the village of Kbaibeh in the countryside of the city of Shadadi in northern province of Hasaka, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
It noted that the targeted area contains a number of oil plants.
In the eastern province of Deir al-Zour, two men were killed and three others wounded when the U.S. strikes targeted two areas near the village of Khusham, said the Observatory.
Separately, the clashes continued between the Islamic State (IS) and the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) in the predominantly Kurdish city of Ayn al-Arab, also known as Kobane, the Observatory said, adding that eight IS fighters were killed in an ambush by the YPG near the municipal building in the city.
The UK-based watchdog group, which relies on a network of activists on ground, said the YPG fighters managed to wrest back control over a radio station building in the western countryside of Ayn al-Arab, adding that the war jets of the U.S.-led coalition are currently flying over the city.
Meanwhile, the pan-Arab al-Mayadeen TV said a leader in the IS called Muhammad al-Jassem was killed by the U.S. raids on the countryside of Ayn al-Arab, without spelling no further details.
The IS unleashed its wide-scale offensive against Ayn al-Arab, bordering Turkey, on Sept. 15 in a bid to capture the city, which, if succeeded, would enable the IS to link its self-declared capital of al-Raqqa province with Ayn al-Arab and stretch its territory to areas bordering Turkey.
Syrian government officials and Kurdish activists have accused Turkey of aiding the IS in capturing the city so as to eliminate the Kurdish presence in the area and impose a long-desired buffer area protected by a no-fly zone in northern Syria.
The IS has captured more than 300 villages around the city and managed to storm it after forcing over 160,000 people to flee toward neighboring Turkey.
Turkey to allow Iraqi Kurds to join battle against ISIS in Kobani
Published time: October 20, 2014 17:15
Russia TV, October 21, 2014 05:19
Turkey will finally help Iraqi Kurdish fighters to reach the besieged Syrian border town of Kobani where their fellow Kurds have been fighting Islamic State militants for over a month, Ankara has said.
“We are facilitating the passage of peshmerga forces to Kobani to provide support. Our talks on this subject are continuing,” Reuters quoted Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu as saying. During a press conference, the foreign minister stated that Ankara doesn’t want Kobani to fall into the hands of the violent jihadist group, the Islamic State (also known as ISIS or ISIL), which has seized large areas of Syria and Iraq. He also said that the Turkish authorities are "fully cooperating with the international coalition over Kobani." However, Cavusoglu stopped short of saying that Ankara supports Washington’s decision to supply weapons to the Kurdish troops fighting for Kobani.
Arms and medical supplies, which the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Iraq gathered for their fellow Kurds in Syria, were airdropped by the US military planes near the besieged town on Sunday. The Turkish FM said that “we want the region to be cleared of all threats. We assess the military and medical materials aid provided by our Iraqi Kurdish brothers and airdropped by the US to all forces defending Kobani in this framework.”
The statement echoes the words of Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who said on Sunday that the Syrian Kurdish PYD (Democratic Union Party) in Kobani is "no different" to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). The PKK is banned in Turkey as a terrorist organization for leading a 30-year struggle against Ankara in order to create a Kurdish autonomous region in southeastern Turkey. Cavusoglu has urged the PYD to give up the idea of carving out autonomous Kurdish regions in Syria and to start cooperating with the opposition Free Syrian Army group, which is fighting to overthrow against Ankara’s long-time foe, Syrian President Bashar Assad. "For as long as the PYD maintains these aims, it will not receive the support of the FSA and Turkey," he said. The foreign minister also said that the airspace of Turkey wasn’t used by the US to perform airdrops to the Kurds.
On Monday, US Secretary of Stat John Kerry said that Washington understood Turkey's concerns about supplying arms to the Kurds. But he stressed that in the current situation it would be "irresponsible" and "morally very difficult" not to support the Kurdish troops, who are fighting the Islamic State in Kobani, AP reports.
Turkey’s unwillingness to join the battle against the Islamic State on the ground has drawn angry comments from Washington. It also sparked violent Kurdish riots in southeastern Turkey as protestors demanded Ankara to at least open a land corridor for volunteer fighters and reinforcements – a claim, which has now been fulfilled.
Turkey has a difficult relationship with the 15 million Kurds living in the country and the representatives of the stateless ethnic group residing in neighboring Iraq and Syria. Ankara views the Iraqi Kurds (KRG) as an ally, but its attempts to reach peace with the Turkish Kurds (PKK) has failed, with the situation deterioration over the events in Kobani. As for the Syrian Kurds (PYD), the Turkish authorities demand them to join the battle against Assad in Syria. On Monday, US Secretary of State, John Kerry, said that Washington understood Turkey's concerns about supplying arms to the Kurds.
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