A convoy of Iraq’s peshmerga forces reportedly entered the Syrian town of Kobani from the Turkish border on Friday waving Kurdish flags. Iraq’s Kurdish forces are the first ground troops that Turkey has allowed to enter Syria from the border crossing since the Islamic State group militants, also known as ISIS, began their siege on Kobani more than 40 days ago.
About 150 Iraqi Kurdish fighters, along with trucks, armored vehicles and artillery crossed into Kobani to fight alongside the Kurdish People’ Protection Forces (YPG). A series of United States-led coalition airstrikes on ISIS positions hit the border town before the peshmerga arrived, in an effort to ensure their safe entry, according to Reuters.
At least four coalition airstrikes hit the Kobani area "damaging four IS fighting positions and one IS building,” according to U.S. Central Command.
Kobane! Peshmerga forces crossed to Kobani tonight with all their weaponry. pic.twitter.com/hVLNRPPPPg
— Idriss Nassan (@IdrissNassan) October 31, 2014
Kobani has made international headlines and become the site of heavy coalition bombing as ISIS militants continue their siege. Around 800 people have died in the town since clashes began. Turkey has also seen about 200,000 refugees cross the border seeking refuge from ISIS advances.
— گۆڕان Gorran (@Gorran_Change) October 31, 2014
Peshmerga is the official name of Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) armed forces. Despite having to ward off ISIS advances in Iraq, the KRG heeded the Kobani Kurds’ call for reinforcements and KRG President Massoud Barzani said he would be willing to send additional help if requested.
“The deployment of peshmerga to Kobane was impossible without Turkish approval and US cooperation. This force is on its way to Kobane and we wish them success,” Barzani wrote on Twitter. “We are ready to send more peshmerga forces to Kobane, if we are asked.”