Iraq's Kurds Ready to Join the Fight
In the coming days, additional fighters, believed to be 150 in total, will arrive in Kobani to defend the city against ISIS.
The fight against ISIS in Kobani is about to get a boost in manpower. Iraqi peshmerga General Halgurd Hikmet announced new fighters will arrive in the city this week, taking the efforts on the ground up another notch. He told CNN the Kurdish fighters from Iraq will pass through the Syrian border to join the fight. "The Peshmerga have been ready for a few days, then had logistical problems, but they no longer do. They will possibly be leaving today or tomorrow," he said. This comes after Turkey agreed to allow Kurdish fighters to pass through the Turkish border into Syria last week.
The additional fighters, believed to be 150 in total, will arrive along with weapons and defensive gear, left over from the Saddam Hussein years. The fighters will be arriving by air, traveling from Erbil, Iraq, to Sanliurfa, Turkey, and then into Syria, while the artillery will be driven into Kobani on trucks—a dangerous journey into territory the Islamic State hopes to dominate.
"The route for heavy weapons for Kobani has been discussed at length," noted Hikmet. Negotiations with Turkey over the route took two days, following what Bloomberg's Selcan Hacaoglu described as "a disagreement between the Syrian and Iraqi Kurds [that] had delayed the deployment."
Kurdish fighters have also been asking for more weapons from the United States, which airdropped a number of supplies into northern Syria last week, as they work to push ISIS forces out of Kobani. Just this week, the United States conducted four more airstrikes in the area, destroying a number of ISIS vehicles and an occupied building.
Given these losses, an increase of soldiers and supplies could help push ISIS further from the city. Meanwhile, the Islamic State released an unusual video yesterday, showing British hostage John Cantlie giving a tour of what he claimed to be Kobani, showcasing ISIS activities there. In the video, Cantlie states the fighting for Kobani is "nearly over," as he walks around rubble. But with this newest batch of weapons and troops, it seems very far from over.