Beirut, Asharq Al-Awsat—Syria’s Kurdish fighters, who are battling the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in a strategic border town, have threatened to disrupt the peace process with Turkey if it fails to provide them with military support, Asharq Al-Awsat has learned.
“The peace process between Kurds and the Turkish government depends on whether Ankara decides to support us or not,” spokesman for the Syria-based Democratic Union Party (PYD) Nawaf Khalil told Asharq Al-Awsat.
Militants from ISIS continued their attack on Kobani, a Kurdish-majority town on Syria’s border with Turkey, for the tenth day despite fierce Kurdish resistance aided by US-led airstrikes.
The Al-Qaeda-splinter group on Saturday tightened its siege of the town, also known as Ain Al-Arab, with Kurdish militants warning of atrocities committed by the group.
In a statement on Friday Kurdish fighters based in Kobani called on Ankara to provide them with weapons and ammunition to halt the Islamist advance.
“We call on the Turkish government to supply us with sophisticated weapons and ammunition with the aim of repelling and eliminating the [Islamist] attack,” the statement said, warning that “leniency toward the organization would put the fate of our people on the line and increase [Islamist] risk along Turkey’s southern border.”
“The statement puts Turkey face to face with its responsibilities and defines [our] relationship with it,” the Kurdish official said. “This will clarify the intentions of Turkey after it declared its support of the international coalition against ISIS,” he said. “But if it does not respond to our demands, this confirms the information that it supports the [Islamist] organization.”
Several thousand Kurds, including fighters, women and children, crossed from Turkey into Syria on Friday to offer military and moral support to their fellow Kurds in Kobani, Khalil said.
He also said that thousands of Kurds are positioned along the border to make sure Turkey is not helping ISIS.
Over 150,000 Syrians have fled to Turkey since ISIS began its attack on the town more than a week ago.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said a “secure area” should be created to protect thousands of Syrian refugees who have gathered along the border with Turkey, AP reported on Friday.
Turkey has been reluctant to participate in the US-led airstrikes on ISIS in Syria and Iraq. However, on Friday Erdoğan said his government is considering ways to support the international coalition.