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Turkey Now Helping Iraqi Kurd Fighters Reach Kobani

October 20, 2014

The Turkish government is facilitating the transfer of Iraqi Kurdish fighters to the Syrian town of Kobani to help the beleaguered city in its fight with jihadists from the Islamic State (IS) militant group.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu announced the policy shift on October 20 in Ankara.

He told reporters that talks on the issue are ongoing and declined to give any further details.

General Jabbar Yawar, secretary-general of the Peshmarga Ministry of Iraq's Kurdish region, told RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq on October 20 that the ministry is 'preparing to send fighters and heavy weapons to Kobani through Turkey.'

Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi said on October 20 that there would be no foreign boots on the ground to help Iraqi forces recapture areas seized by IS militants.

'No ground forces from any superpower, international coalition, or regional power will fight here,' Abadi told reporters in the city of Najaf.

Meanwhile, U.S. Central Command said in an October 20 statement that U.S. forces carried out six air strikes against IS militants near Kobani on October 19 and 20.

U.S. forces also carried out six air strikes against IS militants near the Iraqi cities of Fallujah and Bayji, Central Command said. The strikes were conducted in coordination with Iraqi forces, France, and the United Kingdom, it said.

U.S. President Barack Obama held telephone consultations with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on October 18 during which the situation in Kobani was discussed.

On October 19, the United States military airdropped supplies, including arms and ammunition, to the Kurdish fighters in the city.

A U.S. military statement said the United States has carried out more than 135 air strikes against the IS forces around Kobani.

Kobani's Kurdish defenders have been under IS assault for more than one month.

With reporting by AFP, AP, Reuters, and 'USA Today'

Source: http://www.rferl.org/content/turkey-allow- kurds-fight-isis-iraq/26646084.html

Copyright (c) 2014. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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