Barzani: KRG would con­sider send­ing Pe­sham­rga if needed

The Kurdish Globe - - NEWS -

In a joint news con­fer­ence Fri­day with Turk­ish Prime Min­is­ter Ah­met Davu­to­glu, Kur­dis­tan Pres­i­dent Mas­soud Barzani said the KRG would con­sider send­ing re­in­force­ments to Kobani if needed, but he noted the YPG fight­ers are mak­ing strides on the bat­tle­field as it is.

Kur­dish of­fi­cials said the YPG is giv­ing co-or­di­nates to the Pesh­merga forces that pro­vide cover to their fight­ers by shelling ISIS po­si­tions.

The more than 270 air strikes in and around Kobani by the U.S. and its al­lies since Sept. 23 are far more than have been car­ried out on any other tar­get in Syria or Iraq, ac­cord­ing to the U.S. Cen­tral Com­mand.

More than two months into its as­sault on Kobani, ISIS is still pour­ing fight­ers and re­sources try­ing to cap­ture the be­sieged Syr­ian Kur­dish town, but the drive has been blunted.

Helped by more than 270 air strikes from a U.S.led coali­tion, the bor­der town's un­wa­ver­ing Kurd- ish de­fend­ers are gain­ing mo­men­tum — a po­ten­tially bruis­ing re­ver­sal for the ex­trem­ists who only a few weeks ago ap­peared to be un­stop­pable.

The set­back in Kobani is state­ment of [ISIS's] vul­ner­a­bil­ity," said David L. Phillips, an ex­pert on Kur­dish is­sues.

Re­tired marine gen­eral John Allen, the U.S. en­voy for the in­ter­na­tional coali­tion fight­ing the mil­i­tants known as the Is­lamic State in Iraq and Syria, said the group con­tin­ues to mass around Kobani, cre­at­ing more tar­gets for the U.S. and its al­lies.

«[ISIS] has, in so many ways, im­paled it­self on Kobani," he said.

Kobani has been un­der at­tack since mid-Septem- ber, when the Sunni Mus­lim ex­trem­ists seized a se­ries of vil­lages and much of the town. Most of Kobani's 400,000 res­i­dents fled to neigh­bour­ing Turkey in the first few days of the of­fen­sive, amid ex­pec­ta­tions that it would fall quickly.

But the fate of Kobani soon be­came tied to the suc­cess of the coali­tion cam­paign against ISIS. A com­bi­na­tion of con­cen­trated air strikes and the late ar­rival last month of a group of 150 Kur­dish Pesh­merga forces with ad­vanced weapons blunted the edge of the ISIS of­fen­sive.

The U.S. has also dropped weapons and other sup­plies to the Kur­dish fight­ers, the first time it has done so in Syria in the course of the coun­try's four-year con­flict.

Front lines ' more de­fined now'

Kobani-based ac­tivists say Kur­dish fight­ers have made small but steady ad­vances in the past two weeks fol­low­ing the ar­rival of the Pesh­merga forces. Last week, Kur­dish fight­ers seized a hill that over­looks part of the town. On Tues­day, they cap­tured six ISIS-con­trolled build­ings and con­fis­cated a large amount of weapons and am­mu­ni­tion.

«The front lines are more de­fined now. We have a more or­ga­nized and co­her­ent de­fence strat­egy, and IS ad­vances have been halted — but the dan­ger re­mains," said Kur­dish ac­tivist Mustafa Bali. The IS, how­ever, still con­trols about a quar­ter of the heav­ily dam­aged town, and the bal­ance of power is still ten­u­ous.

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