Iran Ready to Help Damascus in Protecting Kobani Population: Foreign Ministry
BEIRUT, October 8 (RIA Novosti) - Tehran is ready to help the Syrian government in protecting residents of Kobani, a border town with Kurdish population, if it receives an official request from Syria, Iran's Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham said at a press briefing Wednesday.
'Kobani is a part of Syria's sovereignty and territorial integrity and if this government makes a request and asks for any assistance, we are ready to help,' Press TV quoted Afkham as saying.
This help would include the provision of humanitarian aid and medicine to people in Kobani.
Afkham also criticized the latest 'unilateral and unrealistic' report by the UN Human Rights Rapporteur on Iran, Ahmed Shaheed, alleging that Iran refuses to respect the rights of minorities.
'This report has been drafted without observing [international] regulations and duties of human rights officials and lacks the necessary legal standing,' Press TV reported Afkham as saying.
The Syrian Kurdish town Kobani is currently fighting Islamic State (IS) militants, although according to latest reports on the issue, the Islamic State militants have started retreating.
IS tanks and artillery entered Kobani Monday evening, fighting street battles with the local Kurdish population. Islamic State militants have laid seige to Kobani for the last three weeks, causing almost 180,000 people to flee to neighboring Turkey and killing more than 170 Kurdish fighters and at least 20 civilians, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The Islamic State is a Sunni jihadi group that has been fighting the Syrian government since 2012. In June 2014, it launched an offensive in Iraq, seizing vast areas in both countries and announcing the establishment of an Islamic caliphate on the territories under its control.
Kurds are one of the ethnic groups in Iraq and Syria that have suffered greatly from IS violence.
In September US President Barack Obama announced his decision to form an international anti-IS coalition. Washington extended its airstrikes against the militants into Syria, while continuing airstrikes against the group's targets in Iraq. Obama said the United States would arm and equip Kurds, and Iraqi and Syrian moderate opposition in an effort to eradicate the IS.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|