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US airdrops arms, supplies to Kurds in Syrian town of Kobani. Move likely to anger Turkey.
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Sid Shniad
2014-10-20 21:37:03 UTC
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*http://globalnews.ca/news/1623379/us-airdrops-arms-supplies-to-kurds-in-syrian-town-of-kobani/
<http://globalnews.ca/news/1623379/us-airdrops-arms-supplies-to-kurds-in-syrian-town-of-kobani/>Associated
Press October 20, 2014US airdrops arms, supplies to Kurds in Syrian
town of Kobani**The airdrops are almost certain to anger the Turkish
government, which has said it would oppose any U.S. arms transfers to the
Kurdish rebels in Syria. *

*The C-130s encountered no resistance from the ground in Syria during their
flights in and out of Syrian airspace. By Robert Burns*

WASHINGTON – The U.S. military said Sunday it had airdropped weapons,
ammunition and medical supplies to Kurdish forces defending the Syrian city
of Kobani against Islamic State militants.

The airdrops Sunday were the first of their kind and followed weeks of U.S.
and coalition airstrikes in and near Kobani, near the Turkish border. The
U.S. said earlier Sunday that it had launched 11 airstrikes overnight in
the Kobani area.

In a statement Sunday night, U.S. Central Command said U.S. C-130 cargo
planes made multiple drops of arms and supplies provided by Kurdish
authorities in Iraq. It said they were intended to enable continued
resistance to Islamic State efforts to take full control of Kobani.

The airdrops are almost certain to anger the Turkish government, which has
said it would oppose any U.S. arms transfers to the Kurdish rebels in
Syria. Turkey views the main Kurdish group in Syria as an extension of the
Turkish Kurd group known as the PKK, which has waged a 30-year insurgency
in Turkey and is designated a terror group by the U.S. and by NATO.

President Barack Obama called Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on
Saturday to discuss the situation in Syria and notify him of the plan to
make airdrops Sunday, one administration official told reporters. He would
not describe Erdogan’s reaction but said U.S. officials are clear about
Turkey’s opposition to any moves that help Kurdish forces that Turkey views
as an enemy.

In a written statement, Central Command said its forces have conducted more
than 135 airstrikes against Islamic State forces in Kobani.

Using an acronym for the Islamic State group, Central Command said,
“Combined with continued resistance to ISIL on the ground, indications are
that these strikes have slowed ISIL advances into the city, killed hundreds
of their fighters and destroyed or damaged scores of pieces of ISIL combat
equipment and fighting positions.”

In a conference call with reporters after Central Command announced the
airdrops, senior administration officials said three C-130 planes dropped
27 bundles of small arms, ammunition and medical supplies.

One official said that while the results of the mission are still being
assessed, it appeared that “the vast majority” of the supplies reached the
intended Kurdish fighters. That official also said the C-130s encountered
no resistance from the ground in Syria during their flights in and out of
Syrian airspace. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity under ground
rules set by the White House.

One of the administration officials said the airdrops should be seen as a
humanitarian move. He said U.S. officials believe that if Kobani were to
fall, the Islamic State militants would massacre Kurds in the town.

Another administration official said “you might see more” U.S. resupply
missions to benefit the Kurdish fighters in Kobani in the days ahead. Yet
another administration official said a land route to resupply the Kurds had
been under discussion but would require Turkish co-operation. He said talks
on resupply needs and means would continue.
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