Kobane: US drops arms and aid to Kurds battling IS

BBC NEWS
Hercules C130 dropping supplies (FILE PHOTO)The US military said the supplies were designed to “enable continued resistance” against IS (FILE PHOTO)

US military aircraft have dropped weapons, ammunition and medical supplies to Kurdish fighters battling Islamic State (IS) militants in the key Syrian town of Kobane.

US Central Command said C-130 transport aircraft had made “multiple” drops of supplies provided by Kurdish authorities in Iraq.

US air strikes have helped push back IS in the town near the Turkish border.

Correspondents say the airdrops are likely to anger key US ally Turkey.

The drops of supplies provided by Kurdish authorities in Iraq were “intended to enable continued resistance against Isil’s attempts to overtake Kobane,” CentCom said in a statement. IS is also referred to as Isil and Isis.

All the aircraft involved had returned safely, it added.

Smoke rises from KobaneUS forces say air strikes have slowed IS advances into the town

CentCom says US forces have conducted more than 135 air strikes against IS in Kobane. The strikes began in early October.

“Combined with continued resistance to Isil on the ground, indications are that these strikes have slowed Isil advances into the city, killed hundreds of their fighters and destroyed or damaged scores of pieces of Isil combat equipment and fighting positions,” the Centcom statement said.

However, it added that IS fighters continued to threaten Kurdish forces’ ability to resist and hold the city. “Kobane could still fall,” it said.

Senior Washington officials said the airdrops had involved three planes and 27 bundles of supplies.

On Sunday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he would not allow Kurdish fighters to receive any transfers of American arms.

Turkey has resisted calls to help the Kurds fighting in Kobane, describing them as terrorists like the Kurdish militant group the PKK.

Turkey has faced a decades-long insurgency by the PKK, which is also regarded as a terrorist group by the US and the European Union.

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A US administration official said President Barack Obama had called Mr Erdogan on Saturday to inform him that the airdrops would be taking place. The official did not say how Mr Erdogan reacted.

IS militants control territory straddling Syria and Iraq. Kobane is one of their strategic objectives, and fierce fighting has raged in the town for weeks, forcing the evacuation of most of its civilian inhabitants.

October 20, 2014 | Comments »

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