Kobane gets first Turkish aid as Syrian Kurds plead for corridor
Sevil Erkuş ANKARA
Democratic Union Party (PYD) leader Salih Muslim met with Turkish officials in Ankara on Oct. 4.Turkey sent medical equipment to Kobane on Oct. 7 after talks with Turkish officials in Ankara, but Syrian Kurds desperately need Ankara to allow People’s Defense Forces (YPG) forces to cross Turkish territory to join the fight against jihadists, Democratic Union Party (PYD) leader Salih Muslim has said.
“We have our armed fighters in Afrin and Cizre waiting to join the ranks of fighters in Kobane. But, we have to use Turkish territory in order to carry these fighters to Kobane. We asked Ankara to allow them cross the Turkish border,” Muslim told the Hurriyet Daily News on Oct. 7.
Elaborating on a meeting with Turkish officials in Ankara on Oct. 4, Muslim said he asked Turkey to “stand with Kobane” if they see the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) as a “threat, as a terrorist organization.”
Turkish officials told the PYD leader that Turkey was with the Syrian Kurds and that Ankara perceived ISIL as a terrorist organization, according to Muslim.
“They told me that ISIL is not only a threat to Syrian Kurds, but also to Turkey and to the people of the region,” he said, adding that Turkey “promised to take steps,” but they have not kept their word yet.
“Our forces are waiting in Afrin and Cizre. They told me that Turkey would allow them, but that has not happened yet. After our meeting, I was trying to reach Turkish officials for two days. Today, they replied [to my call]. They told me that there were some problems that they were trying to resolve,” Muslim said.
Asked about those problems, he said he was not informed. “We just want them to keep their promises, nothing else,” he added.
The PYD leader also asked Ankara during the meeting for humanitarian assistance for the Syrian Kurds, and the Turkish humanitarian assistance agency (AFAD) sent a vehicle with medical supplies to Kobane yesterday. “That’s all for now. I hope they will continue,” he added.
Turkey did not put any preconditions in response to Muslim’s demands, he also said, adding that “they already know that we are not a threat to Turkey.”
‘No arms supply yet’
Syrian Kurds have also asked the international community to supply heavy weapons, including anti-tanks, to effectively fight against the jihadists to protect their population.
“There is no concrete move regarding the arms supply from other countries. Everybody says, ‘We are with you.’ We’ll see it in the coming days. We want anti-tank weapons. Because jihadists are attacking with their tanks and the weapons we have have had no strong effect in responding to them,” he said, adding that only aerial bombardments were destroying ISIL tanks.
Referring to other countries that could provide arms, Muslim said they wanted to transport the weapons via Turkey. “They should allow [weapons] as well. They did not say anything about it but opening this road would mean [transporting] everything.”
No support from Barzani
On the foreign support in their bid to repel ISIL, Muslim said the American aerial campaign had begun to be more effective since late Oct. 6 and expressed his hope that it would continue this way. “This campaign is good as it helps us by destroying the tanks ISIL is using.”
Muslim also said they had not received any support from Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government leader Masoud Barzani.