Aleppo ‘at risk’ after FSA fighters were sent to Kobane: Commander

Aleppo ‘at risk’ after FSA fighters were sent to Kobane: Commander

İpek Yezdani - ISTANBUL
Aleppo ‘at risk’ after FSA fighters were sent to Kobane: Commander

Nizar al-Khatib, the commander of a Free Syrian Army Commander (FSA) unit fighting alongside Kurds in Kobane, speaks to the media in Istanbul.

It was wrong to send Syrian rebel forces to the besieged city of Kobane, a Free Syrian Army (FSA) commander who has been fighting against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Kobane has said.

“I am criticizing this decision because we need these forces in the other fronts in Aleppo. The situation is very critical in Aleppo right now, regime forces have been surrounding the city for some time,” Nizar al-Khatib told a group of journalists at a press conference in Istanbul on Oct. 30. 

Around 200 Syrian rebels on Oct. 29 entered the embattled town of Kobane from Turkey in a push to help Kurdish fighters battle ISIL militants there.

FSA fighters have been fighting against ISIL in Kobane alongside Peoples’ Protection Unit (YPG) forces since the beginning of the war, al-Khatib said.

“There have been around 200 FSA fighters fighting against ISIL since the very beginning of the war in Kobane. Now, with the entrance of 200 more FSA fighters, this number has risen to 400. Right now, there are 2,000 fighters, including the YPG and Democratic Union Party’s [PYD] forces fighting against ISIL there,” he added. “However, it was wrong to send more FSA forces to Kobane, we need our forces at the Aleppo front right now."

Al-Khatib said FSA fighters had been fighting especially in the eastern neighborhoods of Kobane, adding that there was an operation room in Kobane where all groups were represented and  commanders from each group were directing operations in coordination with coalition forces.
All forces fighting in Kobane have still not received any sophisticated weapons from coalition forces yet, he said, demanding more support. “Our fighters are still using light weapons against ISIL. We still need more support from the Friends of Syria countries, because ISIL terrorists have been bringing forces form other cities to Kobane,” he added. 

Al-Khatib also said the “Train-Equip” program that was to be organized by the Turkish government within Turkey for FSA forces had yet to start.

“There is no agreement with the FSA on this issue yet. It hasn’t happened so far; the discussions have not been finalized yet,” he said.