Friday, October 31, 2014

Iraqi Kurdish Fighters Enter Syria- BBC

Syria IS: Iraq Peshmerga fighters 'cross into Kobane'

Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga fighter leaves for Kobane, 31 Oct Turkey finally authorised the Iraqi Kurds to cross the border last week
Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga fighters have crossed the Turkish border to help defend the Syrian town of Kobane from Islamic State.

Sources inside the town told BBC Arabic the unit was heading to the frontline about 4km west of Kobane.

Turkey finally authorised the Iraqi Kurds to cross the border last week.

Kobane has been under siege for six weeks in a battle that has left 800 dead and forced more than 200,000 to flee across the Turkish border.

Some 150 Peshmerga fighters had mustered at a holding station about 8 km (5 miles) from Kobane three days ago and on Friday set off towards the town in a dozen jeeps, escorted by armoured vehicles.

The Peshmerga waved flags, gave victory signs and chanted "Kobane, Kobane".
It is not clear just how many have travelled to Kobane, which is populated largely by Syrian Kurds.
'Boosts morale'
  A group of 10 Peshmerga had entered Kobane earlier in the week on a scouting mission.
Sergeant Ahmead Mohammad of the Peshmerga force: "We're willing to defend Kurds anywhere it's needed"

The vanguard had discussed deployment and strategy.

A senior Kurdish official in Kobane, Anwar Muslim, told Associated Press: "When the Peshmerga and People's Protection Units are fighting together, this boosts the morale of the Kurdish people."
The Peshmerga are thought to be equipped with heavy machineguns and anti-tank missiles.
The defenders have said such weapons are essential for holding off Islamic State.
The US-led coalition is supporting the defenders with air strikes.

US Central Command's latest report listed four air strikes on Thursday and Friday around Kobane, "damaging four IS fighting positions and one IS building".

In an unexpected shift last week, Ankara succumbed to US pressure to allow Kurds through to join the conflict in Syria. The Turkish authorities have been facing a decades-long insurgency by their own Kurds.

Syria has condemned Turkey's decision to allow Iraqi fighters to transit through, describing it as a "blatant violation" of its sovereignty.

IS has declared the formation of a caliphate in the large swathes of Syria and Iraq it has seized since 2013.
Kobane map

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