Hundreds of Turkish Kurds en route to Syria to fight jihadists
Kurds have been fighting ISIS in both Iraq and Syria for months (File Archive)
Hundreds of Kurds from Turkey are heading en masse to northern Syria to help their counterparts fight against jihadists, according to Agence France Presse Tuesday.
"At least 800 Kurdish fighters crossed the Turkish-Syrian border to help their comrades in Ain Al Arab (Kobani in Kurdish), which is under total siege by Islamic State jihadists," UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights director Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.
Activists on the ground confirmed the Observatory's report, saying that most of the fighters from Turkey were ordered by the banned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) to "move to protect Kobani."
"Fighters started going into Kobani from Turkey some four or five days ago," said Havidar, one of AFP's activist sources.
"But the latest entry, last night, came after orders from the higher leadership of the PKK. Last night, there were celebrations in Kobani -- fighters were firing into the air as they arrived in the town," he told AFP.
Syrian Kurds have been clashing with ISIS jihadists for months in the area, but have recently suffered greater losses after ISIS brought new weaponry and supplies from neighboring Iraq.
"This is the first time that the jihadists appear to be advancing while the Kurds are suffering real setbacks. That is because ISIS has brought in a lot of weapons from Iraq," said Havidar.
"Kurds going in to fight are from everywhere -- Turkey, Iran, Syria and others. Even some Kurds based in Europe are saying they want to go fight," he added.
Kobani is considered a strategic point due to the fact that it is situated between ISIS' stronghold in Raqqa and Syria's former commerical hub of Aleppo.