Turkish intelligence coordinates Peshmerga crossing to Syria
Uğur Ergan - Sevil Erkuş ANKARA
Dozens of Kurdish Peshmerga fighters leave a base in northern Iraq on Oct 28 on their way to the battleground Syrian town of Kobane. AFP PhotoAs Peshmerga forces of the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) arrived in Turkey early Oct. 29, the Turkish intelligence agency has been commissioned to manage their crossing to Syria to help Syrian Kurds in the defence of the border town Kobane against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
The main Peshmerga convoy, which consists of 80 vehicles, entered Turkey via Habur the border crossing at 5:50 a.m. The convoy is expected to use the Silopi-Cizre-Nusaybin-Kızıltepe-Suruç route to meet a group of Peshmerga fighters who arrived at Şanlıurfa Airport at 1:30 a.m. Both groups are expected to enter Kobane on Oct. 29. The distance between Suruç, a Turkish border town, and Kobane in Syria is 16 kilometers.
"There is now no political problem. There is no problem in the way of them crossing. They can cross at any moment," Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu was quoted as saying by the official Anadolu Agency.
The initial number of Peshmerga forces offered by the autonomous region was 2,000, but was first reduced to 200 and then 150 upon the Syrian Kurds’ request.
Their weaponry will be transferred by land through Turkey. The cargo will not include heavy weaponary like artillery batteries and tanks.
After the Turkish army stated its unwillingness to manage the Peshmerga crossing during the latest security summit, the National Intelligence Agency (MİT) has been given the responsibility, Hürriyet has learned. The Turkish army is only expected to take initiative during the crossing through the military zone on the border.
Meanwhile, a group of demonstrators was assembled near Habur border crossing late Oct. 28 to meet the Peshmerga convoy that left Arbil earlier in the day. Unfurling the flags of the KRG, as well as the Syrian Kurdish group PYD, the group celebrated the expected arrival with songs and dancing. However, when some protesters started to pelt Turkish police units on the border with stones, security forces responded by firing warning shots into the air before dispersing the group by using tear gas.
Some 100 Free Syrian Army (FSA) militants are also slated to be deployed to Kobane, but talks between the FSA and the PYD-linked People’s Protection Units (YPG) are still continuing, according to sources.