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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Tuesday, February 20, 2018

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Iraqi Kurdish fighters arrive in Kobane with heavy weaponry to fight against ISIS

Iraqi Kurdish fighters with heavy weapons

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KOBANE, Syria - Syrian Kurds holding out against ISIS militants in the Syrian village of Kobane on the Turkish border have been reinforced by the arrival of Iraqi Kurdish fighters with heavy weapons.

It is hoped they might tip the balance in the battle to defend the town against ISIS, as US-led coalition air strikes continued to target the ultra-hardline group in Iraq and Syria.

The airstrikes have helped prevent several attempts by the al-Qaeda-linked group to take Kobane, but they have done little to prevent ISIS militants' advances in Sunni areas of western Iraq, where it has executed hundreds of tribesmen.

Most recently, ISIS executed 85 more members of the Albu Nimr tribe, according to a tribal leader and security official, bringing the total number of tribemembers killed in the past week alone to more than 300.

The arrival of the 150 Iraqi fighters in Kobane marks the first time Turkey has allowed ground troops from outside Syria to reinforce Syrian Kurds, who have been defending Kobane for more than 40 days.

The fighters - known as peshmerga, or "those who defy death" - were preparing themselves for the battle and took part in action in Kobane on Saturday, Kurdish officials said.

"What was lacking is the weapons and ammunition, so the arrival of more of it plus the fighters will help tip the balance of the battle," Idris Nassan, deputy foreign minister of Kobane district, told Reuters by telephone.

The US has carried out 10 air strikes against ISIS militants, five near Kobani and five in Iraq, since Friday, according to the Pentagon, with the Kobane strikes having "suppressed or destroyed" nine Islamic State fighting positions and a building.

In Iraq, air strikes destroyed an ISIS vehicle southwest of Mosul Dam and hit four vehicles and four buildings used by militants near Al Qaim, the US military said in a statement.

The militants have suffered a significant number of losses since the Islamic State was declared in June, in battles against other Sunni rebels, Islamist groups, forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and in US-led coalition air strikes.

However, ISIS fighters say it is receiving hundreds of volunteers every month, which was helping it carry our more attacks. ISIS has also insisted it is receiving pledge of allegiance from Islamist groups around the world including in Pakistan, Africa and some Arab states.

 

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