Turkey Opens The Door To Kurds Joining Kobani Fight

Turkey's decision to allow Iraq's Kurdish fighters to cross its border and reinforce the Syrian Kurds marks a significant shift in position.

Turkey Opens The Door To Kurds Joining Kobani Fight
Getty Images / Gokhan Sahin

In a major change in position, Turkey is now allowing Iraq's Kurdish fighters to cross its borders.

Known as the Peshmerga, these fighters will provide reinforcements to the Syrian Kurds who have been battling ISIS in the Syrian border town of Kobani for more than a month. (Video via YouTube / Mr Ranj46

Turkey has come under increased pressure for not doing enough to help them. But now, as a reporter for Al Jazeera says, “it seems somehow, somewhere, an arm has been twisted."

The arm-twisting may have come when President Obama reportedly phoned his Turkish counterpart, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and informed him the U.S. military would begin airdrops in Kobani Sunday. 

According to a statement from Central Command, included in the 27 bundles of supplies were small arms, ammunition and medical supplies. 

The U.S.-led coalition has been pounding Kobani and the area around the city with airstrikes for weeks. The bombing campaign, according to the Pentagon, has killed hundreds of ISIS fighters and destroyed many of the group’s resources. (Video via U.S. Central Command

But airstrikes alone have only slowed militants' advance, leaving the Kurdish forces still badly in need of supplies and pleading for international help.

The U.S. airdrops will almost certainly anger Turkey — which despite its recent gesture to Iraq's Kurds — has made clear it will not support arming the Syrian Kurds.

It fears doing so will embolden its own Kurdish minority, of which it’s been fighting a decades-long conflict with.

Moreso, Turkey says the Syrian Kurds have ties to the Kurdistan Workers Party — a Turkish group both Washington and Ankara have designated a terrorist organization. (Video via Press TV

To be fair, Turkey has made significant humanitarian contributions. It already hosts 1.6 million Syrian refugees, including the 200,000 Kurds who fled Kobani. The Turkish government is also working with the U.S. to train and equip Syria’s moderate rebels.

This video includes images from Getty Images.