ILNA: A convoy of Iraqi Kurdish forces in Turkey rolled late on Friday across the border into Syria to help Syrian Kurds defend the besieged town of Kobani that has become the focus of a Western - backed war against ISIL insurgents; Reuters reported
U. S. - led air strikes hit ISIL positions around Kobani earlier in the day in an apparent effort to pave the way for the heavily - armed Kurdish contingent to enter.
The Iraqi Kurdish fighters, known as peshmerga or " those who defy death ", had set off cheering and making victory signs in more than a dozen trucks and jeeps, accompanied by armored vehicles and artillery. They headed from a holding point around ۸ km(۵ miles) from the frontier towards Kobani.
" We have crossed over, " one of the peshmerga fighters in the group subsequently told Reuters by telephone.
The force numbers only around ۱۵۰ but brings weapons and ammunition. Their arrival would mark the first time Turkey has allowed ground troops from outside Syria to reinforce Syrian Kurds, who have been defending Kobani for more than ۴۰ days.
As the peshmerga headed towards the border, a loud blast was heard in the Kobani area, the latest in a rapid series of explosions, in an apparent intensification of the fighting.
Despite having limited strategic significance, Kobani has become a powerful international symbol in the battle against the insurgents who have captured large expanses of Iraq and Syria.
The Kobani battle has raged in full view of the Turkish frontier, testing whether a U. S. - led coalition can halt ISIL’s advance. The failure of Turkey to help defend the town sparked riots among Turkish Kurds in which ۴۰ people died.