Peshmerga on way instead of PYD’s militia

Peshmerga on way instead of PYD’s militia

Sevil Erkuş ANKARA
Peshmerga on way instead of PYD’s militia

PYD head Salih Muslim. AA Photo

Rojava’s Democratic Union Party (PYD) originally asked for People’s Protection Units (YPG) to be sent to the embattled canton of Kobane, only to be sent Peshmerga from northern Iraq instead, PYD co-chair Salih Muslim has said.

“The issue of sending Peshmerga forces came up last week when I was in Dohuk. Earlier, we asked for support from whoever it could be. We asked Turkey to open a corridor to allow YPG forces in other regions [of northern Syria] to be able to come to Kobane. Now, we received some other sort of support,” Muslim told the Hürriyet Daily News on Oct. 22.

Elaborating on the proposal of sending Peshmerga to Kobane, Muslim said they were already in talks with the United States about methods of support. During the meetings in Dohuk, he received a message that Turkey had accepted the crossings of Peshmerga through Turkish territory.

Twenty Syrian Kurdish factions, including the group fighting in Kobane, met in northern Iraq’s Dohuk province between Oct. 14 and 21 in an attempt to unify militarily and politically.

Asked why the crossing of Peshmerga forces was delayed, Muslim said it had "nothing to do" with his administration. "Turkey and [Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government President Masoud] Barzani discussions, and Turkey agreed. Turkish officials did not contact us,” he said.

Asked about who suggested sending the Peshmerga to Kobane, Muslim said he could not go into more details. "There is a will and it’s accepted. At the end, now there are discussions between the YPG and Peshmerga [on the details],” he said.

Asked if the proposal was presented to the PYD as a fait accompli, Muslim declined to further elaborate and merely said, “This was the outcome.”

“Since the first day, I was saying the arms used against us were too heavy. And now the Peshmerga is coming with arms,” he said. 

The technicalities of the Peshmerga forces joining the fight to save the enclave are still being discussed between Iraqi Kurds and the YPG, he said, adding that Turkish officials were not present at the talks.

Muslim denied claims that the PYD objected to Peshmerga support, but said the decision could not have been made without their consent.

“But, the Peshmerga could not come to Kobane on its own. This could only happen based on mutual agreement. There are many details such as meeting and locating them and so on. It was not an issue of objecting to them,” he added.

Muslim confirmed that “one package” of weapons and ammunition, which was airdropped by the U.S. to the defenders of the town of Kobane on Oct. 20, ended up in the hands of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants.

Both YPG forces and the U.S. officials confirmed the incident, he added.

The PYD is willing to accept more U.S. arms airdrops, but it is not clear if the operations will continue.
Muslim also said there were no plans for a meeting between himself and Turkish officials.