Damascus claims to aid Kobane’s Kurds • The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights
The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

Damascus claims to aid Kobane’s Kurds




ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Syria claimed on Wednesday that it was providing military support to Syrian Kurds fighting Islamic State militants in Kobane near the Turkish border.

Omran Al-Zohbi, Syrian information minister, said in comments published by the official Syrian Arab News Agency that Syrian military forces and aircraft had provided support to the Syrian Kurds.

The Syrian-Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) defending Kobane have in the past has been accused of colluding with the Syrian regime. Analysts say the statement might reflect Damascus’s desire to score a propaganda point in a conflict in which the Syrian militia is being increasingly helped by a US-led coalition and by its Iraqi Kurdish neighbours.

The YPG and its political arm, the Democratic Union Party (PYD), are no longer as isolated as they were at the start of the battle more than one month ago, with the US military on Sunday announcing it had airdropped arms and medical supplies to the Syrian Kurdish fighters.

Turkey also made a political shift this week and agreed to help Peshmerga from the Kurdistan Regional Government to cross into Kobane to support the Syrian Kurdish fighters battling ISIS.

Ankara regards the Syrian Kurdish groups as terrorists because of their links to Kurdish militants inside Turkey.

Al-Zohbi said the Syrian state through its armed forces and aircraft had offered military and logistic support and weapons to Kobane – known as Ain Al Arab in Arabic – and that “it will continue to do so with maximum capability.”

He stressed that Kobane was Syrian territory. “From the outset of the battle, the state has not hesitated to play its military, political, social and humanitarian role” because the town is “Syrian territory and its residents are Syrians,” he said.

He also claimed the Syrian air force had destroyed two of three jets seized and reportedly test flown over Aleppo by ISIS.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights earlier had reported that ISIS militants flew three MiG fighter jets over the Jarraj air base with the help of former Iraqi air force pilots who were now members of the militant group, the AP reported.

Al Zohbi accused Turkey of using the report about the seized jets to help push for the creation of a no-fly zone in Syria. He said a no-fly zone is a “red line.”