Kurdish PYD leader hails the role of Peshmerga in Kobani
Allied Kurdish and Syrian Free Army forces are continuing to advance against Islamic State militants in and around the besieged border city of Kobani, Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) leader Saleh Muslim said.
Muslim hailed the bravery of Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) fighters, backed by Peshmerga forces, in the fight, adding that the Kurdish forces are making “slow but steady” progress against the Islamist militants who are planting mines and bombs to cover their retreat from certain areas.
Around 150 Peshmerga fighters reinforced YPG units in the border city last week, bringing with them much needed heavy weapons and ammunition. This was the first time that Turkey allowed ground troops from outside Syria to provide military assistance to the Syrian Kurds.
The PYD leader said that Kurdish Peshmerga forces have had an “effective” role in the battle, adding that the sophisticated arms that they are using have allowed them to target tanks and armoured vehicles from long range, changing the military balance on the ground in the city.
He added that more Kurdish Peshmerga forces could enter the battle in the coming days and weeks. “We are not talking about specific numbers; it depends on what is required. The military leadership is discussing this issue freely on the basis that there are now no political restrictions,” Muslim said.
However the Kurdish political leader issued an implicit criticism of Free Syrian Army (FSA) involvement in the battle for Kobani, saying that “FSA units that entered [Kobani] recently quickly took the decision to retreat because of the difficult circumstances of the battle and their inability to endure.”
But Salih Muslim denied that there were any problems between the FSA and YPG units, saying that the issue was based on disagreements among the various FSA units themselves over battle plans and their coordination.
The PYD leader also praised the “effective” nature of air strikes by in- ternational forces on ISIS positions, specifically praising the involvement of Arab air forces involved in the anti-ISIS alliance, saying that this “confirms the Arab-Kurdish brotherhood.”
His comments came on the same day that Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim Al-Jaafari said Baghdad would not accept any foreign military personnel on Iraqi soil, but would accept training from abroad of the Iraqi forces.
Speaking at a press conference in Ankara on Wednesday Jaafari welcomed Turkey’s offer to train and equip units of the Iraqi military and police forces in the fight against the ISIS.
Salih Muslim, PYD leader, hails Peshmarga role in Kobane in the fight against ISIS.