10/29/2014, 00.00
TURKEY- SYRIA-IRAQ
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Kurdish peshmerga arrive in Turkey to fight in Kobane

They were greeted by thousands of Turkish Kurds who were barred from entering Syria to fight. Ankara fears the strengthening of the PKK and the creation of a Kurdish state. Some areas of the province of Idlib have passed into the hands of the Nusra Front, aided by the militia of the Islamic State.

Istanbul (AsiaNews / Agencies) - A group of at least 150 Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga have come to Turkey to fight the militants of the Islamic State besieging the city of Kobane on the Turkish-Syrian border.

Overnight Kurdish fighters landed at the airport of Sanliurfa. Another contingent arrived at the border post of Habur, heading towards the border with 40 trucks loaded with heavy weapons. The group was welcomed by thousands of Turkish Kurds, waving Kurdish flags.

The peshmerga were expected more than a week ago to the aid the Syrian Kurdish population, under siege for over a month from the IS.

Ankara only gave permission for their arrival a week ago, under pressure from the United States and forbidding Turkish Kurds to go and fight in Syria. Turkey fears that collaboration between the various Kurdish groups could help the PKK, the Workers' Party, which is fighting for independence in Turkey and is considered a terrorist organization. But most of all, Ankara fears that the common Kurdish cause may give rise to a Kurdish state, disintegrating Turkey (as well as Syria, Iraq and even Iran, where there are populations of ethnic Kurds).

In an interview published yesterday by the BBC, the Turkish prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu sought to downplay criticism of his country, that it favors the IS, while being part of the US-led coalition battling against it. He explained that he would prefer that Kobane to be taken and governed by the Syrian forces of moderate opposition and not by the Kurds.

Meanwhile, in Syria, the moderate opposition forces have long been at war with Islamist groups in opposition to Assad. Several villages in the province of Idlib, until now in the hands of the Syrian Revolutionary Front, were conquered yesterday by the Al Nusra Front, the local branch of Al Qaeda. According to some witnesses, the Al Nusra Front was aided in clashes by IS fighters.

 

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