Iraqi Kurds have agreed to send fighters to help defend the northern Syrian city of Kobane from ISIL forces, after Turkey said it would allow them to cross Turkish territory.
The parliament of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region approved the move on Wednesday, days after it sent weapons and ammunition to the town to help Syrian Kurds fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) forces.
Al Jazeera’s Charles Stratford, reporting from Erbil in Iraqi Kurdistan, said the parliament’s decision would need to be approved by the Iraqi Kurdish president, Masoud Barzani, before Peshmerga forces began moving.
“Today in parliament we agreed to send the Peshmerga forces to Kobane as soon as possible,” said Mahmoud Haji Omer, a Kurdish MP.
Turkey earlier this week said it would allow Iraqi Kurd forces cross its borders to defend Kobane. However, it has refused to intervene in northern Syria directly, and has not allowed the US to launch sorties from its territory.
Meanwhile, the US confirmed that some of the military supplies airdropped to Kurds in Kobane had gone astray, possibly captured by ISIL.
|US confirms some aid air dropped to Kurds went astray|
The US dropped 21 tonnes of weapons and ammunition, supplied by the Iraqi Kurds, in the early hours of Monday.
“Yesterday we announced that one resupply bundle went astray and was destroyed. We have since relooked at that and we have determined that a second bundle also went astray and probably fell into enemy hands,” Army Colonel Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, said on Wednesday.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan criticised the air drop.
“What was done here on this subject turned out to be wrong,” Erdogan said. “Why did it turn out wrong? Because some of the weapons they dropped from those C130s were seized by ISIL.”
ISIL released a video on Tuesday showing a fighter sorting through what appeared to be a cache of weapons and ammunition. An ISIL fighter is seen pulling grenades from a container.
Asked about the plan to allow Peshmerga from Iraq into Kobane, Erdogan said: “I have difficulty understanding why Kobane is so strategic for them because there are no civilians there, just about 2,000 fighters.”
The US continued its bombing of ISIL in and around Kobane on Wednesday, with at least two air attacks witnessed by Al Jazeera’s Bernard Smith, who is reporting from across the border in Turkey.
He said fighting was raging in the town. “There was a major assault a couple of days ago. The Kurds held the line. They have recovered a couple of positions but in fact there is still a very tight battle for control going on.
“The Kurds need more physical support. The Free Syrian Army is already helping them. The Turkish authorities have said they will allow Peshmerga into Kobane.”
The Syrian government said on Wednesday that its forces had also been supplying Kurds in Kobane.
“The state with its military forces and planes has been providing military and logistical support, and has supplied ammunition and arms to the town,” said Information Minister Omran al-Zohbi.
Zohbi’s comments cannot be verified by Al Jazeera.